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27/01/2004

Work to start on £300m Dragon International Studios project

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council has issued outline planning consent for a £300m film and television studios project at Llanilid, Wales.
This follows the successful conclusion of a detailed planning agreement between Dragon International and the Council.
Dragon International, the company responsible for the development, will start preparatory work immediately and, subject to detailed planning approval, will commence construction of the initial phase by April 2004.
There are expected to be jobs for up to 1,000 workers during construction and 1,700 permanent jobs when the both studios and the theme park (to be built in phase two) are completed and operational.
Dragon International's film/television studios and theme park will occupy an area of 315 acres. The initial phase of the studios (phase one) will house five silent and seven sound stages with accompanying workshops, a music-recording studio, creative departments, office and service areas.
Subject to the satisfactory outcome of discussions with the Welsh Assembly Government on the RSA Grant support they offered last year towards the development of the studios, the studio complex will be at the cutting edge of worldwide real time digital communication.
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council Leader, Councillor Pauline Jarman, said: "These world class film and television studios represent tremendous opportunities not just for Rhondda Cynon Taf, but for Wales and the United Kingdom in general.
"We have been working closely with the developers over the past two and a half years to make sure that the dream turns into reality. The film and television studios, together with the other exciting developments, will provide the biggest jobs boost for our area for a generation."
Lord Attenborough, Chairman of Dragon International, commented: "We have been made to feel very welcome in Rhondda Cynon Taf and I am delighted that our studios and theme park are to be built at Llanilid.
"The clarity and speed of response demonstrated by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council in regard to our planning application has been terrific."
Speaking of the studio complex, Lord Attenborough said, "This development in Wales is a tangible manifestation of our own faith, and that of both industries, in the continued expansion of film and television production throughout the UK.
"We are creating ultra modern, purpose built and affordable premises for a whole community of creative people working in imagery and sound.
"Dragon will be the most modern, cost effective and welcoming studios in the world, designed by practitioners for practitioners. In Wales we have the space, the funds and the technology - but most importantly the will - to create a wonderful work and leisure environment for future generations."
Dragon International's Chief Executive, Stuart Villard, added: "The UK's existing studios were so fully booked during 2003 that some producers were forced to film abroad. We already have a number of potential tenants for our silent stages which we aim to open within the next six or seven months. The Dragon studio complex is scheduled for completion in 2005."
(GB)
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