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Action! Budget boost will ‘supercharge creation of Sunderland’s 8450-job Crown Works Studios’

The North East is set for a “creative industrial revolution” that will "supercharge" its status as an international hotspot thanks to Government backing for an 8450-job film complex, industry bosses have said.

FulwellCain – the joint venture between Fulwell 73 and Cain International – has secured Westminster support to help realise its Sunderland-based Crown Works Studios blueprint.

Described as one of Europe’s largest studio complexes, bosses say the 20-stage venture – which has already gained £450 million private funding – will attract global productions worth £644 million a year and annually pump £336 million into the region’s economy.

They add construction of the hub, which is set for ex-shipyard land in Pallion, could begin this summer, subject to the granting of planning permission.

And Chancellor Jeremy Hunt today (Wednesday, March 6) confirmed the endeavour will be backed through a so-called trailblazing devolution deal, which officials say will allow the soon-to-be-created North East Mayoral Combined Authority and Sunderland City Council to provide up to £120 million to help make the project a reality.

Hailing the news, Leo Pearlman, managing partner at Fulwell 73 [pictured, below], described it as a “historic moment for Sunderland, the North East and the UK’s screen industries”.

He said: “Crown Works Studios will help transform the city we love into a global hub for big budget film and TV production.



“Britain’s creative sector is at its best when industry and the public sector share the same vision and work together to deliver it – so I’m hugely grateful for the backing of the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority and for the partnership between them, Fulwell 73 and Sunderland City Council.

“Our screen industries are world-leading, and with this backing, the UK, with the North East in its arsenal, can grow its capacity for the production of film and high-end TV.”

Likening the impact of the studios’ arrival on the region to that of car maker Nissan in the 1980s, Leo said it would provide huge cross-sector job opportunities in areas such as carpentry, engineering, design, hair and make-up artistry and medical support.

He added: “At the centre of our plan is a pioneering training strategy that will transform lives and create new opportunities throughout the North East, kick-starting a creative revolution that enables the region to play a leading role in our most exciting sector.”

Alison Gwynn, chief executive at North East Screen, which develops and champions the area as a film and television production hub, said Crown Works Studios will “supercharge the North East into becoming an international production hotspot”.

She said: “We have world-class locations, talented crew, indies winning commissions and the support of all our local and combined authority partners.

“The studio’s development will provide the infrastructure we need to continue the trajectory.”

Celebrating the announcement as “game-changing for the whole of the North East”, Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said it would “unlock jobs and opportunities… that will bring benefits for generations to come.”

He said: “We have worked hand in glove with Fulwell 73, the Government and our regional partners to ensure this scheme will move from vision to reality.”

Councillor Amanda Hopgood, leader of Durham County Council and interim portfolio holder for culture, creative, tourism and sport ahead of the North East Mayoral Combined Authority’s formation, added: “We are proud to back Crown Works Studios.

“This is a project that brings the promise of thousands of new jobs and the opportunity to build a local supply chain that will support generations of people in this brilliant region.”

March 7, 2024

  • Arts & Culture

Created by North East Times