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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 09:34 GMT
Valleywood studios worries mount
Dragon Studios
The film studios plan was first discussed in 2002
Concern over the future of the Valleywood film studios is mounting after administrators were called in.

A disagreement with a creditor, which could not be settled informally, has led to the move.

The studios near Bridgend, chaired by Lord Richard Attenborough, have been plagued by problems.

The administrator said he hoped stakeholders would give the project their support. Dragon International Studios was not available to comment.

Building work on the first of four studios at the 330-acre site near Bridgend is due to be finished next month.

The Labour councillor for Llanharan, Geraint Hopkins said he was "disappointed" by the news.

"Quite a lot of work has already been done, a number of the silent stages have been built and it's a shame now if the project is in jeopardy because of some difficulties.

I am very hopeful of securing the support of the various stakeholders... to ensure that the studios can be completed shortly
Rob Lewis, administrator

"But I do remain positive for the site," Mr Hopkins added. "I would still like to hope the project can be saved.

"I also think that the site is so strategically important - it's next to the M4 within the distance of three of Wales' largest cities and potentially for links to a wider area."

It is owned by Dragon International Studios and Westair Properties Ltd, both of which are in administration.

Administrator Rob Lewis, a partner with accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, was appointed on Friday to tackle the problems.

He said he had a year to sort the issues and potentially could then hand it back to the current directors to run.

In a statement he said: "Over the past two weeks, the companies have been trying to reach informal agreements with their creditors but unfortunately, satisfactory arrangements have not been possible.

"The directors of the companies have therefore sought the protection of an administration order with a view to effecting a restructuring.

"I will be actively exploring the opportunities to put formal restructuring proposals to creditors over the coming weeks.

Lord Richard Attenborough
The project is backed by Lord Richard Attenborough

"In the meantime I am very hopeful of securing the support of the various stakeholders in the project to ensure that the studios can be completed shortly."

The main building contractors said it was business as usual as far as they were concerned.

Mr Lewis said he was still working closely with Dragon International Studios and they continued to drive the project forward.

Work on the 330m development at Llanilid, near Llanharan, started in August 2007 following delays caused by sewerage problems and bad weather.

Oscar-winning actor and director Lord Attenborough, said in January 2006 the scheme would "build studios that have not been seen for decades throughout the world".

Organisers hope the sound stages and TV studios will put south Wales on the film industry map.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said it "very much regrets that Dragon and Westair have gone into administration".

"Officials from WEFO (Welsh European Funding Office) are working closely with interested parties to see whether there is any prospect of establishing a viable operation."



SEE ALSO
Call for clarity on 'Valleywood'
15 Jun 07 |  South East Wales
Delays hit Valleywood film start
28 Jan 06 |  South East Wales

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