Straiton film studio decision delayed until after Holyrood elections

StudioA decision over plans to build a £140 million film studio proposed for Straiton in Midlothian has been deferred until after the Holyrood elections.

The Scottish Government has called in PSL Land Ltd’s proposal after deeming the studio to be of “national significance” and will use its Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals to rule on the application.

The developer had requested its proposal was examined by ministers after it claimed Midlothian Council had failed to decide on the campus within their stated time frame.

Developers behind the £850 million development on the site of the St James shopping centre in Edinburgh are also trying to block the plans amid fears it could undermine its own project.

However a government spokesman said it is “extremely unlikely” that the hearing will take place before May.

The spokesman said: “The exchanges of written submissions with regard to this appeal are continuing and the reporter is waiting further comments from parties in response to matters raised by Scottish Natural Heritage.

“With that in mind, it is extremely unlikely that the pre-election period will have any impact on this appeal.”

Meanwhile, Midlothian councillor Ian Baxter has argued that locating the film studio near the new Shawfair development would not just be an alternative, but also a much better option.

He said: “Shawfair has all the infrastructure links, location and surrounding amenities to accommodate a world-class film production studio.  An added bonus will be the pool of young creative talent on the doorstep.  The local Shawfair School has been designated a centre of excellence for creative industries and Queen Margaret University is walking distance away.  This means we have joined up thinking where we train young people and show them the career path - just a short distance away.”

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