bespoke studio facility for film and TV productions
Keppie have been retained to help deliver Edinburgh Caledonia Film Studio’s vision: to deliver Scotland’s first purpose-built and state-of-the-art international Film and HETV studio complex which will be recognised as one of the best facilities in the world. Along with the proposed Film Academy and onsite training school the development offers significant job creation and investment in Midlothian and is deemed a project of “National Importance.”
In 2013 Keppie were selected to design Scotland’s first purpose-built film and TV production studio. In early studies, Keppie carefully researched the needs of production companies at a local, national and international level. In December 2017, Planning Permission in Principle (PPiP) was granted by the Scottish Government for a mixed-use development comprising film and TV studios, backlot areas, mixed employment uses, hotel, student accommodation, studio tour building and associated infrastructure at land in Straiton, Midlothian. Since the granting of PPiP, legal issues halted the Straiton opportunity, however the design team continued to work closely with Edinburgh Caledonia Film Studios to refine the proposals with a focus on developing the masterplan at another site.
The Film Studio will now be situated at Salter’s Park in Dalkeith on the South Eastern edge of Edinburgh, close to Dalkeith Country Park. Its location on the A68 and onto the City Bypass means it is well located to take advantage of links not only into Edinburgh City Centre and the cities of the central belt, but also the scenery of the Highlands and beyond. The site is allocated for employment-generating uses in the Local Plan and meets all the original selection criteria for a studio site. The immediate area is likely to enjoy around 100 to 150 new jobs associated with the Studios, with the total number of potential jobs resulting from the fully occupied complex in the region of 2,500.
The proposed mixed-use development comprises 12 state-of-the-art Sound Stages, Workshops, Pre and Post-Production Offices, a Reception/Commissary building, Security Gatehouse, Trailer Park, Backlot, Film Academy and associated Student Accommodation; all with associated access, parking, infrastructure and landscape buffer.
The composition of the sound stages creates a flexible arrangement of 12 studios ranging from 12,000 – 34,000 sq ft with a total studio provision of 220,000 sq ft. Workshops with a total area of 200,000sq ft are located around the perimeter of the Sound Stages.
A 150m long linear streetscape has been created between the studios, allowing for additional external filming opportunities, with workshops, offices and associated vehicle delivery/parking arranged around the perimeter of the studios allowing ease of access and minimising potential disruption to the ‘streetscape’.
The Reception building will form the ‘hub’ and main reception of the development. It will contain offices, welfare facilities, general amenities, a café and a restaurant for users of the development. The masterplan incorporates a Film Academy which will provide a direct educational link between students and a working Film Studio development. The development of an onsite artisan apprenticeship school to develop crew and tradepersons’ skills is planned and will be part of the Studio’s actions in partnership with an appointed training body.
Edinburgh Caledonia Film Studios are keen to investigate the potential for links with local schools and their associated Centres of Excellence such as Film and Drama. The design process continues to evolve, with discussions between the design team and the key stakeholders and consultees ongoing. It is anticipated that following the preparation of an Environmental Statement, a planning application will be submitted to Midlothian in Summer 2020.