The film company has reconfirmed its commitment to open an 80,000 sq ft facility at Littlewoods in Liverpool, according to developer Capital & Centric, while work is ongoing to assess the extent of the damage caused by a fire which ravaged half of the building five days ago.
The fire started at the Edge Lane site on Sunday evening, and reached its peak in the early hours of Monday morning, with six fire engines on site.
After dramatic images from the scene showed the building engulfed by fire, the site’s future as a £50m film studio was thrown into doubt.
However, Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital & Centric, said that Littlewood’s anchor tenant, Twickenham studios, remains “absolutely wedded to making the scheme a success, and is committed to working with us.”
The fire was contained in the West Wing of the building, with the majority of the damage focused on the northern side, furthest away from Edge Lane. Control of the building was returned to developer Capital & Centric on Tuesday.
According to Higgins, a concrete 1960s extension acted as a fire stop and prevented the flames from spreading further.
He said the focus was now on ensuring the stability of the iconic façade and clock tower.
“We can rebuild inside relatively easily, as long as we can keep the façade and tower. The priority now is assessing structural stability. While the tower is made of brick, it’s supported by steel beams, and the heat during the fire reached such high degrees we need to ensure that there has been no damage.
“We’ve still not been able to totally assess the damage as the building isn’t safe to enter, so we will be conducting drone surveys.
“Thankfully the fire was restricted to one half of the West Wing, and on the positive side the walls and clock tower are intact, standing straight, and we’ve got our fingers crossed that we will be able to get in and carry remedial work as soon as possible.
“We’re absolutely committed to delivering the Littlewoods Studio, and not far off the timescales we’ve previously announced.” Twickenham was due to open at the site in 2020.
On Monday the policy confirmed that the fire had been caused by “deliberate ignition” and launched a joint investigation with the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.