Planning permission has been granted to build two 20,000 sq ft sound studios on land adjacent to the Littlewoods Building, which is being redeveloped into a centre for the film and TV industry.
The purpose-built film and TV studios, or ‘stages’, off Edge Lane in Liverpool are separate to, but intended to support, the wider £54m Littlewoods scheme being undertaken by developer Capital & Centric.
Both projects are part of a push to cement Liverpool’s reputation as one of Europe’s premier film and TV production hubs.
Liverpool City Council is leading on the construction of the studios and appointed contractor Morgan Sindall earlier this year to build the facilities. Now that the council has received consent for the scheme, works are expected to begin this month and the studios are scheduled to be operational by next spring.
The council’s Film Office is overseeing the scheme’s delivery and is in talks with several “major global production companies” over the use of the stages from next year, it said.
In July, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority approved £17m to support the new film and TV studios, and the Littlewoods scheme.
Liverpool is ramping up its sales pitch as a major film destination in the UK and Europe. It is currently hosting productions such as Netflix’s Munich 38 and Sky’s COBRA, as well as blockbusters such as Warner Bros’ The Batman, and high-end TV drama such as Netflix’s The Irregulars and The English Game, ITV’s Viewpoint and Sky’s Tin Star: Liverpool.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Being adjacent to the future Littlewoods Film Studios, the new sound studios will transform Liverpool’s ability to provide the TV and film industry with a complete support package.
“The city will have all the right ingredients to be a ‘Hollywood of the North’ for training, production content and talent in Liverpool – which will lead to more investment and more jobs.”
He added: “Such is the interest in the city and these new facilities that we’re already getting calls about bookings before we’ve even built them.”
Award-winning writer Jimmy McGovern, whose latest project Time – a BBC TV drama – is being filmed in Liverpool, said: “Everyone knows how great the city is in hosting productions, but we can’t always complete a shoot here due to a limited studio capacity.
“These new studios will be a huge shot in the arm for the sector and especially for the talented army of people who make the magic happen off screen, as they will save a lot of wasted time having to travel to studios elsewhere.
“It’s also great news for young kids in our city and region wanting to get into the industry and in particular it’ll be a brilliant boost for the Kensington community which desperately needs this type of investment and the fantastic job opportunities it presents.”