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Dagenham switches from Ford to film with £300m studio project

Ben Woods
·2-min read
An artist's vision of The Eastbrook Studios site
An artist's vision of The Eastbrook Studios site

A Hollywood property giant has jumpstarted plans to transform a rundown industrial estate into London's biggest film and television studio complex. 

Hackman Capital Partners will pump £300m over three years into a project in Dagenham, east London, marking another boon for Britain’s burgeoning studio sector. 

Barking and Dagenham Council has signed a deal with HCP to create the Eastbrook Studios, the capital’s largest film and TV facility with 12 sound stages spanning 500,000 sq ft.

It is a major boost for the project after it was thrown into disarray last year when backers Pacfiica Ventures withdrew investment over Brexit concerns. 

Council leader Darren Rodwell said it would bring “thousands of jobs” and give “people hope in these gloomy Covid times”. 

“We’re making history. Dagenham used to be famous for factories and Fords, but in the future we will be equally famous for making films.”

Britain’s filmmaking prowess has put its studios and production companies in high demand with America's entertainment juggernauts. 

Disney signed a deal last year to rent most of Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, while Netflix has also set up a UK production hub at Pinewood’s Shepperton Studios.

Sky is also launching a new TV and movie studio in Elstree that will create more than 2,000 jobs over five years. 

California-based HCP owns $3.8bn (£2.9bn) worth of movie production properties, including the Culver Studios, which is home to movie classics Gone with the Wind and Citizen Kane. 

The company will hold a 250-year lease on Eastbrook. 

Michael Hackman, HCP chief executive, said the project will “help write the script for the next iteration of ‘Made in Dagenham’”. 

The Eastbrook Studios plan aims to create 1,200 jobs and give the east London economy a £35m annual boost. Filming is expected to start by mid-2022.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “We are already seeing that the success of this industry will help our economy to recover from the impact of the pandemic, and these studios will play a key role in our city’s future.”