Plans for new film studio in Suffolk approved despite parish objections

Plans have been approved this week for a new film studio set on the site of a former air base in Suffolk, despite strong objections from the local parish council.

A visualisation of the finished Bentwaters Film Studio development
A visualisation of the finished Bentwaters Film Studio development

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning committee granted approval for a new film studio building on the Bentwaters Parks site near Rendlesham, as well as the reuse of existing buildings for associated uses.

The site, which lies in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), was previously used as an RAF base and then a US Air Base, and has been used for commercial buildings since being decommissioned in 1993.

The site has already been used for TV and film recordings, and the planning application seeks consent for a new 18.4-high building which would be used for visual and audio recording.

An officer report on the proposal recommended it for approval, saying that it would "provide an interesting employment addition to the existing mix of business uses located at Bentwaters Park".

The proposal, it said, "could also encourage the development of other creative industries in the locality, which would in turn further support the local economy".

Eyke Parish Council had objected to the proposal on the grounds that the traffic impact of the development would have "a serious and detrimental impact on the village and its residents as well as on the AONB itself".

But the officer report noted that the local highway authority were satisfied that the scheme would not significantly impact on the local road network.

The report also found that the proposal would have "an initial moderate adverse effect" on the surrounding landscape character, "reducing to minor-moderate after 10 years with the maturing of new planting".

Although the report acknowledged that the new building would be taller than the majority of the existing buildings on the site, it concluded that it would be seen in the context of the existing buildings.

"Therefore subject to suitable materials, it would have an acceptable impact upon visual amenity considerations [and] the wider landscape of the AONB," it concluded.


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