Liverpool City Council has submitted a planning application to create the city’s first purpose built film and high-end TV stages.
The city council proposes to build two 20,000 sq ft studios on land adjacent to the famous Littlewoods Building as part of a strategy to cement the city’s position as one of Europe’s premier film and TV hubs.
The planning application is subject to a public consultation but if approved the council expects to start on site in November 2020 and the sound stages to be operational by Spring 2021.
In July this year, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority approved £17m to support the new film and TV stages, along with the Littlewood Film and TV studios.
A report will also be submitted to the council’s Cabinet next month seeking approval to appoint contractors to construct the facilities.
The Littlewoods Film and TV Studios also this week announced Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) as its educational partner and has already signed up the historic Twickenham Studios as its anchor tenants.
Liverpool City Council’s Film Office, which has recently launched a fund to attract productions to the city, is overseeing the scheme and is already in talks with international production companies over the use of the stages next year.
Liverpool is one of the major film locations in the UK and is currently hosting major productions such as Netflix’s The Irregulars, and has previously welcomed blockbusters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Harry Potter franchises as well as high-end TV dramas like Peaky Blinders, The Crown, Tin Star, and The English Game.
In 2019, Liverpool Film Office hosted 324 different film and TV projects, racking up a record-breaking 1,750 production days – 363 more days than 2018 with Liverpool once again acting as a double for locations across the world, including New York in Das Boot, Madrid in Years and Years, London for The Irregulars and Wales in The Snow Spider.
As a result, £17.6 million has been brought in to the local economy – an increase of £1.5m on last year – with the city acting as a temporary home to cast of stars including Tim Roth, Keira Knightley, Cillian Murphy, Noel Clarke, Himesh Patel, Lily James, Nicholas Hoult, Robert Carlyle and Genevieve O’Reilly.
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “Liverpool’s reputation in the TV and Film industry is second to none. The city’s ability to double up as New York, Chicago or Moscow means we regularly see it on the silver and small screen. Being a world class location has opened many doors and the demand from production companies to come here has now reached a tipping point where we need to take the city’s offer to the next level.
“These two pop-up sound stages adjacent to the future Littlewoods Film Studios will ensure co-location to the best new facilities in the UK and transform Liverpool’s ability to provide the TV and Film industry with a more all-round package, enabling us to attract a more diverse range of productions which will in turn will create more jobs.
“Having such illustrious partners like Twickenham and LJMU means we will also have all the right ingredients to create a ‘Hollywood of the North’ for training, production content and talent in Liverpool.
“The team within our Liverpool Film Office have put together a compelling business case and have once again shown why their expertise is such an invaluable asset to the city’s and the UK’s creative sector.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “I always like to say that our region is the country’s cultural and creative capital, whether in sport, music or in film and TV.
“These new facilities and the wider Littlewoods Studios development will mean that we are able to offer the full package to productions, from providing stunning filming backdrops to the more technical editing and recording work.
“This scheme has the potential to be a real game-changer for the entire region, building a ‘Hollywood of the North’ that will attract jobs and productions from around the world to the area, as well as providing local people with world-class training and job opportunities.
“In years to come, I think we might look back on this as the first step in a really exciting and rewarding journey for our creative industry.”