Plans for a major new international film studio to be built in Dagenham were further advanced today with the publication of an economic study backed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell.
The council is now seeking financial backers for the project, which the study finds could meet growing demand for large, permanent production spaces for big-budget films, create around 780 full-time jobs locally, generate £35m in wealth and make a striking contribution to the economic rejuvenation of outer East London.
The study, entitled Made In Dagenham, highlights London’s recent record for attracting inward investment for feature film production, especially from the United States, and the good road and Underground links of the proposed location. The site, which is next to an existing business park, was purchased by the council from Sainsbury’s for £12m.
Reiterating the support he gave the project at that time, Mayor Khan underlined London’s attractions as a movie location and repeated his determination to make London “the most film-friendly city in the world”.
Rodwell, who has emphasised the importance of the arts and creative industries for the growth of his borough since becoming its leader following the council election of 2014, said: ‘This is a landmark day for Barking and Dagenham and yet another sign that we are turning the tide of our fortunes.”
In recent decades, the area has seen major changes in its population make-up and dramatic shifts in its employment profile, most notably the near total closure of the vast Ford motor vehicle factory that opened there in 1931.
Rodwell is seen as an imaginative facilitator of change in a part of Outer London that has had to cope with the consequences of major de-industrialisation, including unemployment, poor skills and a period when the British National Party won a significant minority of council seats.
He has pursued new approaches to housing finance, supply and ownership, and brokered the creation of a campus, set up by the Coventry University Group, at the borough’s civic centre, offering courses in accountancy, engineering and information technology.