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Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 17:34 UK
Purfleet Royal Opera House Production Park takes shape
Royal Opera House Production Park in Purfleet
An estimated 250 jobs are set to be created at the 14-acre production park

The first phase of the £60m Royal Opera House Production Park in Purfleet is nearing completion.

The buildings that will make the props, sets and costumes for the London venue, are on schedule to open this winter.

Renovation work of the Grade II listed High House Farm buildings, which form, part of the site is set to be finished by the end of 2010.

When finally complete, the park will also be home to the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Skills.

It is expected the project will create around 250 jobs and be home to over 6,000 apprentices and learners each year.

Computer-generated view of the completed site
The park will be used by both professionals and local people

As well as the Royal Opera House facility and Academy, there are also plans for industrial units around the perimeter for small businesses connected with the arts, many of whom will be contractors of the Royal Opera House.

The High House Farm area, which had stood empty since the 1970s, is being restored for community use, with function and conference spaces, galleries for local artists and restaurants.

A 'topping out' ceremony to mark the completion of renovation to the exterior of the historic building was held on 29, June.

The Chair of the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Will McKee, said he hoped the park will play a big role in creating a new '"sense of place" within the Purfleet area.

"The Royal Opera House is a national thing and has chosen to come to Thurrock," he said.

"Thurrock is now on the map, it's a place where people want to come to, it's got a lot to offer and the Royal Opera House is one of those things.

Out buildings of High House Farm
The High House Farm buildings had stood unused for 30 years

"In all the conversations I've had with the local community, this has been the view that's come across - they see this as an important flagship project for Thurrock."

He added its close proximity to the M25 and Dartford Crossing made Purfleet the "perfect place to put the production park."

"You may well have touring obligations where you're taking your performances to other parts of the country, as well as back into London," he said.

"There's also a skilled labour force in this area, so in every respect I think the Royal Opera House took a very careful decision in coming here."




SEE ALSO
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