PLANS to build a major new film and TV studio in the North-East have been given the green light.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning department has approved proposals submitted at the end of last year to convert the town's former bus depot in Lynn Street into a new film studio.

The building will be occupied by The Northern School of Art and will be named The Northern Studios.

Council chiefs said the development marks a ‘significant milestone’ for the town and bosses at the college said they are confident work will soon start on the plans.

The new 30,000 sq ft facility is to be the North East’s first dedicated studio capable of housing large scale film and TV production.

The studio is a collaborative project between The Northern School of Art and Hartlepool Borough Council, which submitted the planning application last year.

Gill Alexander, chief executive of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “This is another significant milestone in our on-going efforts to make Hartlepool a centre of excellence within the region where cultural and creative industries can flourish.

“We are very excited to be working with The Northern School of Art to bring this ambitious project to fruition.”

As well as catering for commercial studio use, offering highly specialised technical equipment for stage, screen and events production, it will also be used by students at The Northern School of Art.

Pat Chapman, vice principal at The Northern School of Art, said: “We’re delighted at the confirmation of planning permission for The Northern Studios.

“This exciting new development is named in the Tees Valley Mayor & Combined Authority’s Investment Plan and we’re confident we will soon see work start on the studios.”

The plans for The Northern Studios include a flexible commercial sound stage for TV and features production, a green screen/smaller studio for visual/special effects and corporate filming as well as a training studio for students.

They will also incorporate large workshop spaces with industrial scale 3D scanning and printing facilities for set and prop construction for the screen, stage and events industries.

The development will also feature offices, parking, storage and a café/visitor centre for use by commercial crew, visitors and school visits.

Another application has also been approved to convert the neighbouring former Edgar Phillips building in Lynn Street into teaching and workshop space for film and television students.

It will be named ‘The Scott Building’ and is planned to be renovated to feature four classrooms and a practical workshop for film, TV and theatre higher education courses at The Northern School of Art.

Students will be able to work between both buildings, which are next door to each other.

The projects are part of the work between the council and art college to create an Innovation and Skills Quarter in the Church Street area that nurtures and keeps young talent in the town.