PitStop Productions: Video game sound recording studio is coming to Barnsley - after support from Sony

Plans for a ‘unique world-first’ video game sound recording studio have been granted planning permission, despite concerns from residents.

Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 10:17 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 12:08 pm

Pitstop Productions, a Barnsley-based world leading business which provides sound recording for the video game industry, was yesterday (February 15) granted permission to build a two-storey recording studio on green belt land off Windhill Lane, Staincross.

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

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Pitstop Productions was yesterday (February 15) granted permission to build a two-storey recording studio on green belt land off Windhill Lane, Staincross.

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

The scheme was deferred at January’s meeting of the council’s planning board, as more information was sought from the applicant.

John Sanderson, founder and managing director of PitStop Productions, made an impassioned plea to the council’s planning board to grant permission for the scheme.

Pitstop Productions was yesterday (February 15) granted permission to build a two-storey recording studio on green belt land off Windhill Lane, Staincross.

Mr Sanderson told councillors: “In the previous meeting, it was said that to allow this development… will be setting a dangerous precedent.

“This is not a dangerous precedent. This development represents everything your council is trying to achieve.

“It’s a precedent of a brighter future, it’s a precedent of how a small business with genuine good business intentions, can invest in Barnsley.

“It is indeed a very special circumstance that needs your full attention and understanding.

“This building will not create the noise you think it will. I can hand on heart say the loudest thing you’ll hear is the sound of the bin lorry.

“The system being created allows these companies to record the sound outside and then allow it to go directly to the internal studios.

“What’s recorded outside will instantly be heard in studio it will go straight into the game. It’s never been done anywhere in the world.

“Professionally it’s never been done before. It’s a unique world first.”

Almost 50 objections were lodged by residents, on the grounds of loss of greenbelt, loss of privacy, highways and traffic concerns, and biodiversity concerns.

Two residents spoke at the meeting to object to the plans, on the grounds of noise from external sound creation and loss of greenbelt land.

One resident told the planning board that the greenbelt land is ‘very precious’, adding: “The outdoor area is controversial for without it, this building could be sited anywhere including brownfield.

“Examples of sounds to be created include the hammering of metal and wood, and the smashing of glass and ceramics. Surely this can all be done inside.

“It mentions the building acts as a shield, which may be the case for those living directly opposite, but what about those living on Warren Lane, whose gardens overlook the rear of the property?

“The outdoor space is not needed. The company must already have an extensive library of sounds.”

Another resident told the planning committee that in granting permission, they would be ‘setting a dangerous precedent’ that will lead to wider development on green belt in the district.

They said: “Some neighbours are retired, and love being in their gardens. Our gardens will be overlooked by a monstrosity of a building.

“If this build goes ahead, I can honestly say I will have lost all faith and confidence in our council.”

Matt Woodward, planning officer at BMBC, said that letters of support for the studio had been received from Sony and other games manufacturers who have previously worked with PitStop Productions.

He added that the gaming industry had been growing by around eight per cent per year, and lockdown had led to a 20 per cent growth.

Councillor David Greenhough added: “These sort of jobs in Barnsley… is definitely what’s needed.

“We are crying out for upper level jobs. We can’t keep building warehouses.

“We want our children to grow up in industries like this, and have successful careers.”

Joe Jenkinson, head of planning at Barnsley Council, said the fact that he site is in green belt held “substantial weight, to the decision, but the unique offering of the studio amounted to “very special circumstances”.

“The crux of this issue is is whether the case forward amounts to very special circumstances,” added Mr Jenkinson.

“I’m much more reassured, having heard what I’ve heard and read what I’ve read, that the this truly does amount to very special circumstances, it is going to be a unique facility.”