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May 12, 2013

James Bond franchise may be forced to move from Pinewood base

Pinewood Studios, the home of 007, awaits £200million expansion to get the go-ahead

James Bond franchise may be forced to move from Pinewood base

The James Bond franchise may be forced to relocate from its Pinewood Studios base.

The studios, which have been the home of 007 for more than 50 years, are currently waiting on a decision from local councillors to approve a much needed £200million expansion. If the plans are rejected then filmmakers say they may go elsewhere to a more modern facility.

If green lit by South Buckingham Council at a hearing on Wednesday (May 15), Pinewood Studios would double in size over the next 10 years, expanding into the surrounding green belt. Studio bosses say the work is essential if the UK wishes to continue to compete with Hollywood and other emerging markets.

"We're at capacity, the UK is at capacity, something has to give," Pinewood chief executive Ivan Dunleavy told The Guardian . "If we as a sector don't respond to the growing demand then someone else will. [The producers of the Bond films] have to be financially responsible. If they get a better proposal elsewhere than the UK can mount then they have to look after their business as well."

Dunleavy's plan to expand into the green belt areas which surround the studio has been met with some local opposition. However, the chief executive has stressed that the development will attract over 3,000 new jobs.

"We took a long time to have consultations with local parties that are interested and take on board their views", he said. "Our argument is about creating jobs and capacity for an industry that wants to grow and hasn't got the ability to grow at the moment. The fact you can build on green belt with permission is lost in the nuance of [the opposition] argument."

Sam Mendes, director of James Bond movie Skyfall also stressed the importance of the proposed Pinewood development for the future of 007. "Pinewood is the spiritual home of James Bond and the two franchises have enjoyed a long-standing relationship", he said. "Tradition, however, is not enough on its own. I am convinced of the need for Pinewood to keep on expanding to offer filmmakers the best facilities possible."

South Buckingham Council will meet to vote on the proposals on Wednesday (May 15).

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