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New film studio gets approval for cameras to start rolling in Derby

today13 September 2022 1

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Film-making and stunt training for major film productions are to soon start at a former Derby factory after planning permission was approved. Cameras are set to be rolling now that Derby City Council has given the go-ahead on temporary plans for part of the former Aida Bliss factory in Chester Green to be used for “film-making purposes” for a period of nine months.

The plans come after council leaders rubber-stamped long term plans to sell the derelict City Road building so it can be turned into a new film studio and “Europe’s first film and stunt academy” – subject to planning permission and a business case being worked up. It all means that long production trucks and hi-tech cameras could soon be powered up around the historic building.

The company behind the plans is Marv Studios, best known for the hit films Rocketman, Stardust, Layer Cake and the Kingsman franchise, who are planning to invest £13 million in the vacant building in the long term. A separate planning application is set to be submitted outlining the company’s long term visions for the building – but film-making can now take place with this initial approval.

Planning documents stated that film-making operations will take place typically between 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday during the temporary occupation period “for a maximum of 50 employees at the peak activity (during filming) on site”. But it is not yet clear when this will actually start.

Maintenance works are being agreed in collaboration with Derby City Council to make the building safe and accessible for the film-making process. Documents state: “During the temporary use period of 9 months, the space within the modern highway shed will be used to practice and eventually film scenes as part of the specific filmmaking activities for movie production.”

Derby City Council planning officers have approved the plans with the hope the long term plans can help put Derby on the map and drive up the city’s economy. A statement from the authority said: “This temporary permission would bring back into use a prominent, currently vacant and historically important building bringing with it environmental, economical and social benefits. The proposed use is unlikely to have a detrimental impact on residential amenity, the local road network or public health. Furthermore, the proposal would not harm the historic fabric of the building nor the setting of the Little Chester Conservation Area or Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Buffer Zone.”

Council leader Chris Poulter has previously labelled the plans “immensely exciting for Derby” which would help put the city “on the map”. The Aida Bliss site has stood empty for 20 years. There were advanced plans to turn it into new council housing before Marv Studios bosses held talks with the council and the public earlier this year.

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