A BUCKS business organisation has welcomed news that Pinewood Studios has been successful in its £200 million expansion plan bid, saying it is likely to be one of the biggest projects to impact on the  economy in this area in our lifetime.

It was confirmed yesterday that Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, had granted planning permission for the development.

The move overturned a previous decision to reject the plan, made by South Bucks District Council largely over concerns about the impact it would have on green belt land.

It also comes amid years of protests against the scheme by nearby residents in the Iver Heath area.

Alex Pratt, Chair of the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and National Chairman of the LEP Network, said: “Expanding Pinewood Studios cements our position as world leaders in the creative media.

"This development at Pinewood supports all the headline economic objectives in BTVLEPs plan for sustainable economic growth; it will bring forward 3,000 jobs, growth, infrastructure, and will develop home grown skills to enable this industry, which has been identified as being of national economic importance to continue to win in world markets with a strengthening competitive field. “

The expansion of the site is expected to take place over the next decade and a half, with speculation that work could begin in around six months’ time.

Mr Pratt added: “This development is of national importance if the UK is to retain its position as a world leader in the creative sector and is to be able to provide a strong foundation for growth of the UK film and TV industry, a contributor of some £4bn to UK plc. Without this development Pinewood would be unable to meet industry needs and take up lucrative opportunities.”

A statement from the TVLEP added that the development is likely to be one of the largest single projects to impact on the local and national economies in South Bucks in our lifetime.

The TVLEP is a business-led partnership between local government and the private sector, which aims to improve economic conditions in the area.