Liverpool City Council is proposing to build two 20,000 sq ft studios and sound stages at the £54m Littlewoods Studios complex in what could be a game-changer for the city’s film industry. Tony McDonough reports
Two 20,000 sq ft film and TV studios will be built at the £54m Littlewoods Studios complex under plans unveiled by Liverpool city council.
The council has submitted a planning application for the studios and sound stages which will significantly enhance Liverpool’s reputation as a location for leading film and TV productions.
In years the city has provided backdrop for Hollywood blockbusters such as Harry Potter and hit TV drama shows such as Peaky Blinders. In 2019, Liverpool Film Office hosted 324 different film and TV projects, racking up a record-breaking 1,750 production days and generating £17.6m for the city.
However, what has held Liverpool back is the lack of a sound stage for the creation of indoor sets and post-production facilities. The creation of the Littlewoods complex close to Edge Lane, by developer Capital & Centric, will fill this gap. It has already unveiled two anchor tenants for the facility – Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), as its educational partner, and the historic Twickenham Studios.
n July this year, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority approved £17m to support the new film and TV stages, along with the Littlewood Film and TV studios. The planning application is subject to a public consultation but if approved the council expects to start on site in November 2020 and the sound stages to be operational by spring 2021.
A report will also be submitted to the council’s cabinet next month seeking approval to appoint contractors to construct the facilities. Liverpool Film Office, which has recently launched a fund to attract productions to the city, is overseeing the scheme and is already in talks with international production companies over the use of the stages next year.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool’s reputation in the TV and film industry is second to none. The city’s ability to double up as New York, Chicago or Moscow means we regularly see it on the silver and small screen.
“Being a world class location has opened many doors and the demand from production companies to come here has now reached a tipping point where we need to take the city’s offer to the next level.
“These two pop-up sound stages adjacent to the future Littlewoods Film Studios will ensure co-location to the best new facilities in the UK and transform Liverpool’s ability to provide the TV and film industry with a more all-round package.”