A new film and TV studio complex inside the M25 could be up and running by 2020, but only if a feasibility study can justify the commercial business case for it.

Dagenham Studio

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan last week announced that he will be co-commissioning a piece of research that will examine the practicalities of creating a purpose-built production facility in Dagenham, East London.

Partnering with Film London, the London Local Enterprise Panel and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, the £80,000 study will look at demand for such a facility and the economic benefit it could bring to East London and the city as a whole.

But while the public sector is initiating the move, the studio will not be built unless there is commercial support for it.

Film London chief executive Adrian Wootton told Broadcast that he is optimistic that the study will reveal that there is significant demand from both domestic and international TV and film producers.

He said: “We wouldn’t have announced this, with the mayor, if we didn’t think that there was an opportunity and we didn’t think there was a possibility. This is one of the few places and spaces inside the M25 where there is a potential chance to do something.

“I would like to believe that the consultants will be able to give us a business case that is strong enough for us to go out to the commercial market, to private industry and private investors and make something happen.”

He added: “It has got to work for private industry otherwise it won’t survive. Everybody wants to make sure this is a sensible proposition and it is achievable.”

Brownfield site

The proposed location in Dagenham is a 17-acre brownfield site that was formerly a manufacturing plant for a pharmaceutical company.

The UK facilities management company that runs the site, SOG Group, originally suggested it as the location for a studio in 2015 after it was used to shoot Humans (C4), Code Of A Killer (ITV) and the BBC crime-drama New Blood.

If the feasibility study recommends that the project should proceed, there is a chance to build anything from 100,000 to 250,000 sq ft of production space, probably over a number of phases.

No fixed timetable is in place but the study is expected to be commissioned by Christmas 2016 with results likely by the spring of 2017. If the outcome is positive, a tender could be put out to market by the end of 2017 with a studio potentially in the offing by 2019 or 2020.

Although the long-term future of 3 Mills Studios in East London is still under scrutiny Wootton is hopeful that any new development will augment the capital’s current studio capacity rather than replace any of it.