Plans for one of the largest film making complexes in Europe, which will create thousands of jobs across the North East, have been approved.

Sunderland City Council planning and highways committee today gave the green light to Crown Works Studio.

The region is set to become a major destination for film and high-end TV production in the wake of news that will transform the local economy, spurring a creative industrial revolution in one of the UK's most exciting sectors and pumping more than £300 million a year into the regional economy.

The development will enable the North East to play a far greater role in future growth of the UK's offer to the global film and high-end TV industry, says planning specialist Lichfields, which has co-ordinated and led the planning application process, including the Environmental Statement, organising a major public consultation in summer 2023 and the collation of feedback.

The studio hub will feature 19 premium sound stages, offices, workshops, a vendor village, and an extensive backlot - all built on a brownfield site on the banks of the River Wear - providing the infrastructure required to support the blockbuster productions, as well as smaller scale projects.

Lichfields and Sunderland City Council also believe the studios will foster an eco-system on a scale not seen since Nissan’s investment in Sunderland in the 1980s, while meeting the growing demand for studio space in the UK.

Set to be delivered in three phases, work on the scheme is set to start this year with the final phase set to complete by 2027.

The move comes amid a number of major regeneration schemes currently underway on Wearside, including the 33-hectare Riverside Sunderland site, creating jobs and contract opportunities spanning a vast range of disciplines including the trades and manual skills.

The total value of UK screen is forecast to rise to £7.5bn by 2025, generating an estimated in excess of 100,000 jobs in the UK.

Harvey Emms, senior director and head of the Lichfields Newcastle office, said: “This is one of the most high-profile and exciting developments to come forward in the North East in recent years. It will put the region on the map as an international centre for broadcast and film production, creating thousands of jobs and economic prosperity in the process.

“It also brings the dramatic transformation of Sunderland’s Riverside a lot closer so, we are delighted to be involved in the project and look forward to continuing to support Fulwell73 and other partners closely to see their vision become a reality.”

“Boosting the North East’s position as a vibrant centre for the creative and visual arts, the ambitious plans are expected to deliver a huge contribution to the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda through the creation of the largest studio film complex outside of London and the South East.

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“The project is supported by Sunderland City Council, which has brought together a number of key partners to work with the investors to secure planning around the development of the skills-base needed to support the scheme.”

The development is joint venture between Cain International and entertainment company Fulwell73, the company behind The Kardashians, Friends: the Reunion, and Sunderland Til I Die, and strategic partner Sunderland City Council.

It is expected to create 8,450 jobs across the North East over the next decade.