MAJOR expansion plans at Pinewood Studios which will see it become the "largest film studio in the world" has been given the go-ahead by councillors.

The film studios located in Iver, Buckinghamshire, will see 21 new sound stages, backlot filming space, a multi-storey car park, an education and training hub and a publicly accessible nature reserve.

Buckinghamshire Council's planning committee approved the plans for the 1.4m sq ft expansion to the south of the existing Pinewood Studios site in Iver Heath.

A new 25.6-hectare nature reserve will be built at Alderbourne Farm too which residents can use.

Pinewood Group Corporate Affairs Director Andrew M Smith OBE DL said: “We’re delighted Buckinghamshire Council has approved our plans for the expansion of Pinewood Studios and new nature reserve at Alderbourne Farm.

"This development will provide invaluable resources to the British film and TV sector, consolidate Pinewood’s status as the UK’s leading production site, deliver significant benefits to our local community and encourage new talent to join the industry.”

Despite the approval, the plan has been met with objections due to the concerns surrounding harm to the green belt land and an increase in traffic.

Concerns have been raised that the nature reserve will not provide sufficient habitat for local wildlife, however, support has been shown for the private farmland to be turned into an open green space for local residents to use.

Iver Parish Council initially objected to the plans for the development of green belt land to be used for the purposes of a tourist attraction, some film production and limited education usage.

In a council report, planning officers admit that the development is "inappropriate" for greenbelt land but say that the benefits outweigh the harm.

Officers state that harm to the landscape is afforded "significant weight" in the argument against granting planning permission.

Developers also argue there are economic benefits for Pinewood Studios' expansion as 8,000 jobs would be created and the expansion will "directly address the continued growth in demand for production accommodation in the UK." 

Pinewood South was subject to a previous planning proposal granted conditional approval in April 2022 for use of the land for a visitor attraction, film production studios and an education and business growth hub.

Objections were also made about residents feeling unsafe due to the increased traffic on ‘cut-through roads’ that lack pedestrian pavements.

Residents also aired concerns over the construction of the two new roundabouts causing "major congestion in the mornings and evenings" already. 

Iver Parish Council had raised issues surrounding pedestrian access to the proposed nature reserve, traffic issues exacerbate the rat run problem and air quality."

Objectors to the plans asked that the Five Points Roundabout and Seven Hills Road be completed and fully operational prior to any further development and the works at Seven Hills Road.

Residents living in Springfield Cottages on Alderbourne Lane, the site located next to the new development, argued the plans are a 'step too far'.

Christine Owen spoke at the planning meeting: "My home will never be the same. No amount of trees will shield me from the site, and together with noise and light the value of my property will undoubtedly fall. May I suggest Pinewood appreciates our concerns and offers a relocation package?"