The chair of an environmental group has described the deferment of a decision on Marlow Film Studios as 'disappointing' while developers have used it as an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to building 'the world's best film studio'. 

Both advocates and detractors of the Marlow Film Studios proposal voiced their perspectives on the projected harm and benefits of the development, proposed for construction on Greenbelt land near the A404 in Little Marlow, at a meeting of Buckinghamshire Council's Strategic Sites Committee yesterday (October 23).

Committee members ultimately chose, however, to defer the decision on whether the project should be greenlit or rejected until a date of March 2024 at the latest, after praising eloquent voices on both sides of the debate

Robert Laycock, CEO of Marlow Film Studios and Richard Sherwin, chair of the environmental campaign group Save Marlow's Greenbelt have now responded to the deferment, with the former thanking the council for "the opportunity to resolve outstanding matters", including highways and ecological analyses, and the latter reiterating the "anxiety and frustration" felt by residents living near the proposed site. 

Mr Laycock emphasised the "very special and high quality" nature of the project, which he said would "deliver over 4,000 jobs and £3.5 billion to the local economy in its first ten years, bringing a £750 million investment to the area".

Bucks Free Press:

Adding: "We strongly believe that Buckinghamshire deserves this opportunity to maintain and grow its position as a globally significant player in the UK's creative economy which is backed by the central government's commitment to support a growth industry. 

"We will continue to work diligently with officers to provide beneficial solutions for the area and deliver the world's best studio."

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Richard Sherwin, who spoke against the proposal during Monday's meeting, said the committee's decision had been "disappointing", especially given the council planning officers' recommendation that the application be refused on the grounds of its environmental impact. 

He also drew attention to the acknowledgement by several councillors that the proposal "failed to demonstrate" the Very Special Circumstances standard required for development on Greenbelt and its "failure to satisfy the Highways Agencies".

Bucks Free Press:

Mr Sherwin added: "The committee recognised the harm that the scheme would cause to the Greenbelt, ecology, the road network and local residents. At the same time, they heard that the demand for another studio was uncertain, the promise of jobs was not guaranteed for locals and the promised training was already in place elsewhere.

"The developers have had two-and-a-half years to get their application in order and yet they have failed to do this, causing more anxiety and frustration to residents."