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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 11:51 GMT
Director promises 'Valleywood' jobs
Film graphic
Film legend Lord Attenborough has promised that planned film studios - dubbed Valleywood - will bring jobs to unemployed south Wales workers.

The state-of-the-art studios and an associated business park, which was given planning permission to be built on a site near Llantrisant, south Wales, could create more than 8,000 jobs.

Lord Richard Attenborough
Lord Attenborough wants Welsh workers for the scheme

And Lord Attenborough told BBC Radio Wales the studios would be looking to re-train unemployed miners and steelworkers to man the 350m complex.

The actor and director added that the studios, which are planned for a former open-cast mine site at Llanilid, would be unique in the European film industry.

He said: "We hope to be able to train a lot of the people who have been unemployed in the district by virtue of steel or coal.

"We would hope to have the opportunity to train them as plasterers, carpenters, electricians and painters so they can join the crew in the studio.

"This project will be unique not only in the UK but in Europe."

Asked if he saw American or British filmmakers using the studios, Lord Attenborough replied "both - and Welsh I hope."


We hope to be able to train a lot of the people who have been unemployed in the district by virtue of steel or coal

Lord Attenborough

He added: "I think there will be a terrific demand plus the fact that we are taking away from London where they have huge additional costs."

Lord Attenborough chairs Dragon International Studios Limited, which is planning to start work on the 350-acre site in the spring.

The company hopes to open the studios in autumn 2004.

The project will encompass film and television studios, a media centre, screen academy and film theme park and could eventually have a price tag of 1bn.

Jobs

The developers said up to 1,000 workers would be employed during the construction phase, and a further 1,700 posts created when the complex was fully open.

An adjacent development by the Joseph Villard Partnership, which plans to build hotel accommodation, a conference centre, health spa and a new hospital as well as a series of business parks, would generate another 6,000 jobs.

Rhondda Cynon Taff councillors, who approved the plans at a meeting on Thursday, also hope that there will be a knock-on effect with more jobs being created in the local service industry.

Kim Ryley, RCT chief executive, said: "I think its impact will be enormous in terms of jobs.

Open cast mine site at Llanilid
A deserted open case mine is the studio site

"There will be 1,000 construction jobs created while the project is being built and 1,700 full-time jobs once it is open.

"In addition there will probably be another 6,000 jobs in the business park that will accompany the studios and then the knock-on effect in the local economy in terms of service jobs.

"We are talking about a huge boost not only for RCT, but for the south Wales valleys and the Welsh economy as a whole."

Mr Ryley added that the studios was the latest step in an effort to improve the area's image following on from the Pop Factory at Porth, Rhondda and new media businesses that were being encouraged to set up.

Details have also emerged about a new hospital which could be built near the studio site.

Developers want to build a European centre of excellence for the treatment of sports injuries.

As well as catering to the film studios, developers believe there would be a demand for a sports injuries clinic and other orthopaedic facilities from local professional rugby clubs and health trusts.

The hospital is still in the planning stage.

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Lord Richard Attenborough
"This will be unique not only to the UK but in Europe"
See also:

05 Dec 02 | Wales
10 Aug 01 | Wales
20 Sep 02 | Wales
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