Scotch Corner TV and film campus ‘would industrialise countryside’

An ambition to build a major TV and film production studio campus across top quality farmland, beside a designer village, the UK’s largest garden centre and a manufacturing facility, at Scotch Corner is illogical and would represent the industrialisation of the countryside, it has been claimed.

Objectors to Scotch Corner Richmond LLP’s plan to build six expansive soundstage buildings covering a total of 27,870sq m south of Barracks Bank have also claimed the developers should consider using a brownfield site instead.

The move follows plans being lodged with Richmondshire District Council to develop land to the east of the proposed film campus, land to the north being developed for a designer outlet village and a Blue Diamond Garden Centre.

Scotch Corner Richmond LLP said it application responded “to an urgent need from the film industry”, for film and TV production space and that it was in active discussions with a major UK film production company.

The documents state: “The global rise in the popularity of high-quality streamed content has created an incredibly competitive environment for content production, not only between the streaming platforms and producers but also for traditional broadcasters, who, to compete, have had to ‘up their game’ as these streaming services frequently exceed the very best in production values.”

The planning documents state the proposed development would secure long-term social and economic benefits for Richmondshire, including the creation of “up to 300 high value employment opportunities”, when the facility was in full use.

The economic benefits statement follows leading North Yorkshire councillors expressing concern over unsubstantiated, overstated and unchecked job creation claims by other developers.

When asked if it was forecasting that 300 full-time jobs would be created at the campus and who the “employment opportunities” figure included, such as actors and extras, a spokesman for the firm said the figure represented “the maximum number that would feature with the facility at full use”.

The spokesman added: “You will appreciate that there might be cyclical use depending on the requirements of film and TV production companies. We expect there to be more indirect jobs created through the supply chain to the facility, but we have not quantified that at present.”

In letters to the council, objectors have claimed there could be no justification for not using a brownfield site as it would result in the loss of top quality farmland without any demonstrable overriding need to do so.

One objector stated: “It would result in the industrialisation of the open countryside in a manner detrimental to its appearance and character, in direct conflict with well established local and national planning policies.

“Should this proposal be allowed, it would set a regrettable precedent for further inappropriate incursions into the open countryside by built development, particularly in the absence of any natural physical constraints.”

Objectors have also claimed the Scotch Corner junction of the A1(M) and A66 already operates close to capacity during peak periods, causing tailbacks along feeder roads.

An objector wrote: “There is no logical reason why this proposal should be located on the site chosen, it being far better suited to an established commercial location.”

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