THOUSANDS of jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in the approved Bray film studios expansion has been hailed by local decision makers.

A majority of councillors on the Maidenhead development management committee gave the nod for the historic film studios in Downs Place, Water Oakley, to expand into the greenbelt on Monday, November 8.

The plans include demolishing five properties to build nine new sound stages, four workshops, one rehearsal building, offices, and accommodation as well as 750 car parking spaces – 20 per cent of which are EV charging points – 174 cycle spaces, HGV parking, and adding a roundabout to access to and from the A308.

With the UK seeing a production boom with huge demand for stage space, owners of the studios hoped this expansion will them the “top choice” for large scale and high-profile films and TV to be filmed in Bray.

READ MORE: Bray film studio's major expansion plans approved by councillors

It was said the expansion will create 1,500 full-time jobs at the studios, a further 1,463 ‘indirect’ employment – 80 per cent of which will be Berkshire – as well as pump nearly £139m a year into the UK economy.

Elaine Sargent, director of Bray film studios, said it was an “exciting chapter in the resurrection of Bray film studios” and looks forward to “championing” the next generation of filmmakers.

Cllr Andrew Johnson

Cllr Andrew Johnson

The leader of the Conservative-run Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council, Cllr Andrew Johnson (Hurley & Walthams), said it will be a “massive boost” for the borough as 830 local jobs will be created while local businesses will also benefit from the major investment coming forward.

He said: “We are very pleased to see Bray Studios move onto its next phase at the very centre of UK film and TV production and having supported this project from the outset we remain fully committed to helping make it happen.”

A pre-application consultation was carried for residents and local businesses to have their say on the plans. 60 out of the 63 responses received were in support of the expansion.

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The chairman of the Maidenhead planning panel, Cllr Phil Haseler (Con: Cox Green), said: “The applicants did a great job with their public consultation and community engagement to ensure the proposals were respectful of the site and its surroundings.

“This will be a huge benefit to the Royal Borough and National economy.”

Meanwhile, the Royal Borough Council tweeted: “This will enable significant investment, jobs and training opportunities, securing the long-term future of Bray Studios, capturing the economic benefits for the Royal Borough & cementing our future as a creative centre in film & TV. Lights, camera, action!”