TV and film expansion given green light

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A decision by planners to approve a large-scale extension to the film and TV production facility at a former RAF base near Tadcaster could create the region’s largest “park” for creative industries, it was claimed this week.

Councillors in Selby approved unanimously the plans for the studios at Church Fenton where ITV shoots the period drama, Victoria.

Its owner, the Garforth-based developer Makin Enterprises, wants to build a “flagship HQ-style” building on the site and convert aircraft existing hangars into more space for film sets.

The site had been an air base until 2013, when three sound stages were built alongside offices and a 400-acre backlot.

The regional filming agency Screen Yorkshire persuaded ITV to move in when plans for Victoria were first announced.

Hugo Heppell, the agency’s head of investment, said the planning decision could herald a further expansion.

“It’s quite a unique site, in that it offers three very large stages, which are ideal for high-end TV like Victoria,” he said.

“The most significant element is the ability to create a creative industries park on the site which will hopefully bring the infrastructure and the companies to take advantage of its facilities, and allow Makin Enterprises to enhance the capacity.”

Mr Heppell said the studios would complement ITV’s long-standing base on Kirkstall Road in Leeds, which was better suited for medium-scale productions.

Makin Enterprises says the Church Fenton site could eventually support 1,800 permanent, skilled jobs in the creative and digital sector.

Its managing director, Chris Makin, said it was “an opportunity to attract unprecedented investment, growth and innovation into North Yorkshire”.

He added: “There is the potential to deliver an international class creative hub here which can utilise the significant creative talent which exists here in Yorkshire.”