Plans revealed for new videogame sound production studio in Barnsley that could create dozens of jobs

Plans for a new ‘sound design creation studio’ have been lodged for green belt land off Windhill Lane, Staincross.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 11:46 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 11:57 am

If approved, existing buildings at the site will be demolished to make way for the new studio, which will be used to record sound effects to be used in video games.

Planning documents say the two-storey building will ‘attract and retain high quality jobs’, and ‘help the expansion of Pitstop Productions, a locally based world leader in the field of sound recordings for the video game industry’.

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Councillors will decide the application at the next planning board meeting on January 18.

The company currently employs total of 45 staff, and is looking to expand after sales increased by 122 per cent.

The scheme could create a further 15 new jobs within a year, and 50 jobs over the next five years, according to the plans.

The building would include a full height recording hall, seven mix rooms, a recording room, meeting rooms and storage as well as toilets, showering and kitchen facilities, and 11 parking spaces.

Councillors will decide the application at the next planning board meeting on January 18.

Externally, there will be four sound booths, a hoist and pit as well as a small pond at the rear of the building, to be used for external sound recording.

Although the land is allocated green belt, a council report states that ‘the site is not accessible green space’.

Councillor Steve Hunt, Liberal Democrat representative for Darton East, said that the loss of green belt land in an area already subject to ‘so much development’ is a ‘concern’, and asked if another location could be found.

Coun Hunt added that the potential to set a precedent for other industrial development in the area ‘is also of concern’.

Councillor Harry Spence, Labour representative for Darton east, objected to the plan, stating that the site is ‘not suitable’ and ‘there are no special circumstances to allow this project to go ahead on green belt land’.

A number of objections have been lodged by residents, on the grounds of loss of greenbelt, loss of privacy, highways and traffic concerns, and biodiversity concerns.

One resident wrote: “The building design is not in keeping with the area, it looks like a warehouse, is two storey and will be highly visible, detracting from the area and spoiling views of the area as a whole.”

However, council planning officers have recommended the scheme for approval, and say it will deliver a ‘unique facility in sound design’, and attract investment and jobs.

“In addition, the business already works with Barnsley College and there is continued commitment to do so with the proposed facility providing opportunities for students to gain experience.

“The highways impacts have been assessed as acceptable and trips to the site are not expected to be significant with only five staff located here permanently.

“It is accepted that the benefits of the proposed, taking account of the lack of alternative suitable sites in the borough and unique case of the applicant, clearly outweighs the harm to the green belt and any other harm and the proposed is recommended for approval subject to conditions.”

Councillors will decide the application at the next planning board meeting on January 18.