There are a number of alternative approaches to providing facilities for film and TV production in the UK ranging from smaller, converted redundant buildings with a few thousand square feet of stage space to large purpose-built estates that offer up to 500,000 square feet of stage space plus a similar quantum of workshops and offices.
The Studio adjoins the A68 highway and is around 9 miles by road from central Edinburgh. The nearest rail stations are Shawfair and Eskbank on the Borders Rail link or Newcraighall on the North Berwick line.
The site has planning allocation as Class 4 (business), Class 5 (general industrial) and Class 6 (storage and distribution). Local Plan Policy ECON 3 (Ancillary Development on Business Parks) supports the principle of ancillary uses at Salter’s Park. The Council officer’s Pre-Application Report, presented to the Planning Committee following ECFS’s submission of a Proposal of Application Notice, has already advised that “the proposed film and TV studio and associated uses accord in general terms with this policy position”.
The site’s neighbouring occupiers include Dalkeith Education Campus & Dalkeith House and Country Park.
Highways issues are not expected to be a concern. The main site access will be gained off Salters Road which links Dalkeith to the A68 arterial route to the South and to Edinburgh City bypass (A720/A1).
All in 000 sq.ft.
Permanent workshops &
Offices for production &
Ancillary studios facilities
Film Academy & Training School
Total Permanent Buildings Space (000sq.ft.)
Office space for productions comprises a total of 72k sq. ft. overall. There will also be a requirement for on-site post-production facilities. Office space to let for commercial tenants, primarily support services and digital businesses, is included at 40k sq.ft. in phase 2. It is possible that if the current early stage discussions with a number of leading digital agencies conclude positively, that office space requirement may increase.
A number of specialist service suppliers to the production industry will also wish to establish on-site operations, for example lighting and equipment hire, timber and hardware yard and scaffolding hire.
ECFS plans to develop the studios facilities across two phases.
A summary of buildings accommodation showing the gross internal areas for each of the two phases is as follows:
This space will be let on a commission basis as is common in the industry. Around 40k sq.ft. of space will be provided for these supply chain businesses.
The remaining buildings comprise administrative facilities such as a reception, gatehouse and staff offices plus a cafe. Additional amenities could also be provided, potentially including a gym, more specialist food & beverage, a small medical centre and convenience store. These will be considered further at the detailed design specification stage and will be subject to economic viability.
The Film Academy will be developed on the southern area of the site and will provide some 42k sq.ft. GIA of teaching space in conjunction with Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland’s leading provider of film, gaming and media related courses. Associated with the Academy will be the provision of some 180 student bed spaces.
The data centre will comprise around 200k sq.ft. for the studios, academy and third party use.
Production customers expect substantial sized external backlots, with a minimum 200m span to build larger sets. The backlot surface must be hard and stable but can comprise hard core. Power points will be provided. The indicative plans show a small backlot alongside a trailer parking area.
As most employees will wish to travel by car, there will be a significant car parking requirement. A limited amount of executive parking will be permitted within the security zone close to the stages. The current plans provide for on-site spaces in each of phases 1 and 2 as surface parking.
Parking provision will be extremely sensitive and will be agreed at detailed design stage in conjunction with the relevant authorities.
Considerable hard standing space and roadways are required on site for the trucks and trailers that both deliver to the site or are parked on site during production. Examples include trailers for cameras, lighting, sound, special effects, props, costumes, makeup and hair, catering and supplementary generators. An allowance for 650 car parking spaces plus 20 trucks with utility servicing connections at each sound stage have been included in the outline master plans.
The trailer park will accommodate 18 articulated lorries and the container park will accommodate 120 containers stacked two high.
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