4D, Lichfields and Hydrock now Stantec are advising. Credit: 4D Studio Architects

Sunderland greenlights £450m Crown Works Studios

Planning permission has been secured for the development of a 1.7m sq ft film and TV production complex, a joint venture between Cain International and Fulwell73 with hefty public sector backing.

Sunderland City Council is a strategic partner in the project, which it believes could create 8,450 jobs across the North East over the next decade.

The project, designed by 4D Studio Architects, will also be backed by funds released by the region’s trailblazer devolution deal in a move trailed in this month’s Budget.

Lichfields is advising on planning matters, while Hydrock has provided fire engineering, smart energy and sustainability, geo-environmental/geo-technical, civil and structural engineering consultancy advice.

The studio hub will feature 19 premium sound stages, offices, workshops, a vendor village, and an extensive backlot – all built on a brownfield site on the banks of the River Wear – providing the infrastructure required to support blockbuster productions, as well as smaller scale projects.

Set to be delivered in three phases, work on the scheme is set to start this year with the final phase set to complete by 2027.

Crown Works Studios is promoted as a scheme that will enable the North East to play a far greater role in future growth of the UK’s offer to the global film and high-end TV industry, said Lichfields.

Lichfields advised on planning. Credit: 4D Studio Architects

Harvey Emms, senior director and head of the planning firm’s Newcastle office, said: “This is one of the most high-profile and exciting developments to come forward in the North East in recent years. It will put the region on the map as an international centre for broadcast and film production, creating thousands of jobs and economic prosperity in the process.

“It also brings the dramatic transformation of Sunderland’s Riverside a lot closer so, we are delighted to be involved in the project and look forward to continuing to support Fulwell73 and other partners closely to see their vision become a reality.

“Boosting the North East’s position as a vibrant centre for the creative and visual arts, the ambitious plans are expected to deliver a huge contribution to the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda through the creation of the largest studio film complex outside of London and the South East.

“The project is supported by Sunderland City Council, which has brought together a number of key partners to work with the investors to secure planning around the development of the skills-base needed to support the scheme.”


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