New state-of-the-art film and TV centre could create 'Doncaster's own Steven Spielberg'

Steven Spielberg. Picture: CreativeCommons/Gage Skidmore
Steven Spielberg. Picture: CreativeCommons/Gage Skidmore
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A plan for a state-of-the-art film and TV production centre in Doncaster could ‘create the next Steven Spielberg’ a councillor has said.

Cabinet members on Doncaster Council have officially backed a bid headed by 360 Degrees Media Limited, which would look to transform a part of High Melton College to make big screen hits and boost the number of high skilled, high paid jobs in the borough.

Council officer Tim Hazeltine told councillors on Tuesday that a report showed the plan could involve investment of £64m with the creation of over a 1,000 jobs for the new studio site and a potential to create a further 6,700 roles in the town’s supply chain.

Local authority bosses say the full development of seven sound stages and the attraction of film and TV productions firms using of local settings and assets in programmes will ‘increase the towns profile and attracts visitors to the town’.

A report seen by cabinet members claimed the investment has the ‘potential to have a game-changing impact’ on Doncaster’s creative and digital industry.

Officers added the plans will boost film and TV jobs across Yorkshire by 100 per cent putting Doncaster as a ‘major player’ in the industry outside of London and the south east.

The scheme already has the backing of Doncaster MPs, film industry experts and Doncaster Chamber of Commerce.

Council bosses are now seeking to support the investment by applying for a Sheffield City Region Business Investment Fund grant for £4.1 million.

This cash will support the establishment of a high level training course at a new visual effects academy, help deliver three of the seven sound stages and around 430 jobs at the new studio.

Doncaster Council would be required to pay back half of the grant but bosses forecast this will be generated from new business rates the development will bring.

Speaking at the meeting on Tuesday, Coun Nigel Ball said: “We could end up with the Steven Spielberg coming out of Doncaster. This is a fantastic scheme and it's got to be applauded."

Glyn Jones, cabinet member for housing and equalities added: "I really welcome this development - it offers so many chances to our young people and aspirational people in the borough.

"This is a unique opportunity. If we were to turn this down it would be to the detriment to Doncaster."

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones praised the plans and said: “This ticks all the boxes. This would stimulate our economy driving high paid, high skilled jobs. This is something we all want to achieve.

"We welcome this development, how can you not support something like this for our young people."