Do we need more studio space?

Much has been written, mainly by the film industry and commercial property developers, about the need for more film studio space in the UK. A 2018 report by PwC put the figure at 0.9 million square feet more; a 2021 report by Lambeth Smith Hampton claimed 2.3 m sq ft was needed to meet demand by 2033.

So, how much is needed then? Thankfully, The Studio Map has area information on all 70+ studios and a helpful page listing all planned new stages in the UK.

We scraped the data and the following picture emerges:

The pipeline of planned projects already exceeds the anticipated demand by 2033. Many of these projects are expansions of existing studios or conversions of brownfield (industrial) sites.

What happens if there is overcapacity in the sector and studios stand empty? Well, there is an example: around 2010-2012, a planning application was approved to convert the then empty Bray Film Studios into housing. (In the end, Bray just received approval to expand their film studios.)

Why should we risk excess capacity on our Greenbelt? There are plenty of industrial sites across the UK more suited to this type of proposal.

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