Mission Impossible – do you think it would be possible to secure a planning permission for a major film studio on a site used by rare bats? Happily this is the sort of challenge we relish and where we can bring to bear our philosophy of integrating ecology into the built environment to achieve a net positive gain for biodiversity. Indeed, this is what we strive to achieve on each and every project we work on.
At Pinewood Studios we worked closely with the project design team to ensure that key flight lines, representing a commuting route between woodlands for the rare Bechstein’s bat, were not only protected and maintained but enhanced, in turn securing future landscape links for this species. Taking this approach facilitated the grant of planning permission by Buckinghamshire Council in February 2023 for 1.4 million sq ft of studio expansion, which will include 21 new purpose-built sound stages and a backlot filming space as well as an education and training hub. This expansion will deliver substantial economic and social benefits creating over 8,000 new jobs and injecting £640 million a year into the UK economy. Once the development is complete, Pinewood Studios will be the biggest studio complex in the world, with a total of 51 purpose-built stages.
Moreover, as part of the project a 63 acre publicly accessible nature reserve will also be brought forward which will restore a range of degraded habitats and provide a significant benefit to biodiversity.
Aspect Ecology has now been appointed to take forward the implementation of the biodiversity elements of this exciting project, to turn the permitted plans into reality.
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