Planners have given the go-ahead for the building of two 20,000 sq ft film and TV studios in Liverpool, part of a £54m ‘Hollywood of the north’ complex. Tony McDonough reports
Work will begin this month on Liverpool’s first film and TV sound stages as part of a plan to create a Hollywood-style movie-making complex in the city.
Liverpool City Council has secured planning approval for two 20,000 sq ft studios on land adjacent to the former Littlewoods Building, off Edge Lane. This will will form part of the £54m Littlewoods Film and TV studios being created by developer Capital & Centric.
The city has become one of the top European destinations for film and TV companies and has provided backdrops for numerous productions including Harry Potter and Peaky Blinders. Liverpool’s architecture has doubled up as New York, Chicago and Moscow.
It is currently hosting productions such as Netflix’s Munich 38 and Sky’s COBRA, as well as recently welcoming blockbusters such as Warner Bros’ The Batman, and high-end TV drama such as Netflix’s The Irregulars.
Liverpool Film Office has been instrumental in encouraging film-makers to come to the city. But the lack of top-notch post-production facilities and sound stages for indoors scenes has meant that, when the cameras stop rolling, the production companies go elsewhere to complete their work.
In July this year, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority approved £17m to support the new film and TV stages, along with the wider complex. With planning approval now granted works will begin this month and the sound stages are expected to be operational by spring 2021. Morgan Sindall is the main contractor.
The project is being overseen by the film office and it is already in talks with with major global production companies over the use of the stages from next year. Capital & Centric has already secured two anchor tenants for the complex – Twickenham Studios and Liverpool John Moores University.
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “Being adjacent to the future Littlewoods Film Studios, the new sound studios will transform Liverpool’s ability to provide the TV and Film industry with a complete support package.
“Such is the interest in the city and in these new facilities we are already getting calls about bookings before we’ve even built them. These sound studios also means the city will have all the right ingredients to be a ‘Hollywood of the North’ for training, production content and talent in Liverpool – which will lead to more investment and more jobs.”