Having supported our long standing client the University of Reading, our inter-disciplinary team of planners, landscape planners, heritage and development economics experts have secured approval for a new purpose-built TV Studio which will align to Thames Valley Science Park’s (TVSP) ethos and support the University’s wider ambitions both for themselves and the park itself.
Hosting a range of popular TV shows the studio is being developed to accommodate the latest broadcast and media technology and will form part of ‘Cine Valley’ alongside a major film studio and creative media campus, known as Shinfield Studios, which is subject to a separate planning application.
The new TV studio will provide 4,591sqm of total gross internal floor area to be used for filming of TV productions. This building will consist of a TV studio space (1,210sqm) sandwiched between a workshop/storage area (771sqm) and accommodation block (2,760sqm). A 5-storey accommodation block will house TV production facilities, such as lighting, sound and production galleries as well as wardrobe and make-up rooms. Space for stars, groups and supporting uses is also provided.
- 1,210sqm TV studio space
- 771sqm workshop/storage area
- 2,760sqm 5-storey accommodation block (including dressing rooms, green rooms and production facilities)
- M4 Sustainable Development Location bus service
- Combined direct and indirect employment GVA generated of £7.5 million per annum
The location of Thames Valley Science Park benefits from the south M4 Sustainable Development Location (SDL) bus service which provides a 30-minute frequency service to and from key destinations with Reading including the University’s main campus at Whiteknights – where the Department of Film, Theatre and Television resides. This, combined with providing essential studio space for the industry, connections with world leading TV practitioners for local small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and broadcast professionals, meets the University of Reading’s aim to bring a wealth of knowledge and opportunity in the film, TV and creative media industries to the local area.
The market for TV production has boomed and investment in the UK industry has reached the highest figures on record. Demand for studio space for entertainment shows has begun to grow from digital streaming services as they realise that there are limits on the consumption of drama. These digital streaming services also know that entertainment shows are great value for money and the emotional connection offered is highly valued by their customers. This demand for studio space has been expanded further by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. As this demand for studio space is increasing, the regulatory and political pressure to move production outside the M25 is also mounting. This is a key reason why a TV Studio development at TVSP will be so well placed to meet the growing demand from this sector.
This proposal will form part of TVSP, aligned with the ethos of the Park in terms of innovative thinking and technology. Furthermore, it forms part of the University’s future concept for the Park, as a means to attract further innovative, knowledge and technology-based organisations which will not only enhance the profile of the borough but support the local community.
Our Development Economics team who prepared the Economic Benefits Statement also highlighted that the direct employment of 95 full time employees (FTE), indirect employment of 55 FTE, would see the new TV studios create a combined direct and indirect employment GVA generated of £7.5 million per annum.
Alongside us showcasing the overall benefits of the scheme, our Landscape Planning team prepared a robust Landscape Visual Assessment to justify why the building is acceptable in landscape and visual terms when seen in the context of the existing TVSP buildings.
WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE SECURED APPROVAL FOR THIS EXCITING PROPOSAL WHICH WILL PROVIDE MUCH NEEDED TV STUDIO SPACE AND SUPPORT THE UNIVERSITY OF READING’S VISION FOR THE SCIENCE PARK IN CREATING INNOVATION VALLEYS, TO WHICH THIS WILL FORM PART OF THE CINE VALLEY FOCUSSED ON FILM, TV & MEDIA.
Mark Owen, Planning Associate
The planning application was submitted in February 2021 and approved by Planning Committee in July, with the aim that an occupier could start using the building in 2022.
Images: Scott Brownrigg