Hollywood-backed film studio is refused permission

A proposed film studio backed by Avatar and Titanic director James Cameron has been denied planning permission.

Buckinghamshire Council backed a recommendation from its planning officers that Marlow Film Studios' plans for Marlow quarry be refused.

During a meeting at the Strategic Sites Committee, concerns were raised that the site was an inappropriate development for greenbelt land and would have a significant impact on the local road network.

Robert Laycock, chief executive of Marlow Film Studios, said the firm was considering its next steps.

He said: “We are disappointed the committee was not able to support this extraordinary proposal. "

He said the committee had highlighted the "significant social and economic benefits" the proposed studio would bring to Buckinghamshire.

"It is one of the most significant investment opportunities in the future of Buckinghamshire and its residents," he said. "And we are now considering the next steps for the development.

“In addition to luminaries like James Cameron, Andy Serkis, Paul Greengrass, Richard Curtis, Jeremy Irons and a host of global figures who support us, we are most touched by the unprecedented level of local support from Buckinghamshire.

"Over 5,200 people wrote letters of support, and well over 100 people turned up in person to the meeting today to show councillors how much they care.”

In October Buckinghamshire councillors deferred their decision on the studio so they could consider green belt and road issues, despite the site being recommended for refusal by planning officers.

Campaign groups such as Save Marlow's Green Belt had argued the site was inappropriate for the development.

The group has been approached for comment.

In a Marlow Parish Poll, 85% of those who voted opposed plans to build Marlow Film Studios on greenbelt land near the Buckinghamshire town.

James Cameron
Canadian film-maker James Cameron supported the proposed studios [Getty Images]

Film director Cameron, who also directed Aliens, wrote a letter to Buckinghamshire Council telling them how he was impressed with the plans for the studio, which he said could be a base for his company Lightstorm 3D and could also host a training centre.

He told the council he hoped the studios would be the "next evolution of 3D storytelling".

James Bond director Sam Mendes, who is work on four Beatles biopic films for 2025, wrote in a letter the site could become "the premier studio in the UK".

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