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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
More delays for Valleywood studio
Camera crew
The new studios are expected to create up to 1,700 jobs
The start of building work on 330m film studio complex, dubbed Valleywood, has been delayed again.

The 330m complex, with five silent stages, on outdoor street set and film production facilities, is planned at Llanilid, near Bridgend, south Wales.

Developers have said they have had to wait for a grant to come through before they can begin.

Work, which was due to start in January, was held up last year when rare dormice were found on the site.

The studios, to be built on a 317-acre site, are expected to create 1,700 jobs.

The complex has been put proposed by Dragon International Studios, which is chaired by actor and director Lord Richard Attenborough.

Lord Richard Attenborough
The studios will be built by Lord Richard Attenborough's company

Diana Hawkins, speaking for Lord Attenborough who fronts the development, said she believed the delays would not affect the overall scheme.

She added: "We can't lift a finger on the site until 19 May when there'll be a decision on a grant application we've made.

"We've had permission to fell a few trees in preparation, but we have to wait for the grant procedure to take its course and get all the 'I's dotted and 'T's crossed before we are allowed to do anything more.

"But we hope to open the silent stages at the end of the year."

Ms Hawkins added that reports the UK film industry was experiencing a lack of funding would not have any bearing on the project.

'Ebbs and flows'

She said: "We're carrying on. Pinewood (studios) declared a massive profit last year and last year was the biggest ever for the British film industry.

"Ebbs and flows in the industry won't affect us."

The film studio scheme was first put forward in 2001 but plans were initially opposed by the Welsh assembly.

These objections were withdrawn in October 2002 and an initial planning application was approved by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council in the December.

But in June 2003, the company behind the project, frustrated with delays in securing grants, threatened to change location of the studios from Llanilid to the former LG plant in Newport.

In January 2004, Lord Attenborough announced that building work on the studios would begin at the Llanilid site and hoped that the first phase of the scheme would be completed by the end of that year.

The developers were expected to begin work in September but fears that a colony of rare dormice was living on or near the site delayed the project.

A detailed search of the area was carried out which showed that there was a colony of dormice in the vicinity and developers had to work alongside the Countryside Council for Wales to ensure that the rodents are kept safe during the development.




SEE ALSO:
Mousehunt delays Valleywood
12 Jan 05 |  South East Wales
Valleywood work to start
27 Aug 04 |  Wales
Valleywood work imminent
20 Jan 04 |  Wales


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