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Lights, Camera, Action! Sunderland gets set for Hollywood with planning approval of Crown Works Studios

12th Apr 2024

Early designs for Crown Works Studios in Sunderland have received the green light from Sunderland City Council, with the approval of its hybrid planning application.

Putting the north east of England on the map as a major destination for film and high-end TV production, the £450m development will deliver a brand-new film and television studio on the banks of the River Wear.

Chris Chennell, regional director — north east, said:

A project of this scale and impact comes about once in a generation. Crown Works will be transformative for the region generating thousands of jobs, prompting institutes to revise education programmes, and bringing unprecedented prosperity in the process.

The application included outline planning for the construction of 20 premium soundstages with attached office buildings, production workshops, a gateway building and supporting infrastructure.

Once complete, the complex is estimated to attract global productions worth £644m a year, create over 8,000 new jobs in the region, and contribute £336m of economic growth per year once running at full capacity.

Advising Lichfields and Turner & Townsend, our north east team has played a key role in supporting this visionary project. Our team provided fire safety expertise, smart energy and sustainability solutions, alongside geotechnical, civil, and structural engineering advice. This helped Sunderland City Council and FulwellCain craft a winning planning application that's set to turn Sunderland into a major player in the UK's creative industry.

Steve Watson, structural engineering director at Hydrock, said:

We're thrilled to help breathe new life into a massive project that will reshape the region. Transforming the derelict Pallion Shipyard into a hub for economic growth in the Northeast is a true showcase of our team's strengths. From civil and structural engineering to geotechnical expertise, we’ve guided a unified vision. Fire safety and sustainability considerations were woven into the project from the start, ensuring the seamlessly coordinated multidisciplinary approach our clients expect.

This project could break ground as early as the summer of 2024, with the ambition to complete all phases by 2028.

Photo courtesy of Sunderland Council