independent

Sunday 24 February 2019

Ashford studios gets green light for €90m plan

Deputy Stephen Donnelly and Joe O'Connell outside Ashford Studios
Deputy Stephen Donnelly and Joe O'Connell outside Ashford Studios

Brendan Keane

Ashford Studios has been granted permission for a major new expansion that will cost in the region of €90m.

An Bord Pleanála gave the green light to the plan which will include the development of four new film studios, each measuring 40,000 sq feet.

The development will also include TV studios, offices and support space.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly welcomed the news and said it will be a massive boost for the community.

Commenting that Ashford Studios has already proven to be a huge success Deputy Donnelly highlighted the fact that blockbusters like 'Vikings' brought the studio onto the world stage.

He also praised the studio boss, Joe O'Connell and his daughter, Shelley, who he said showed 'real determination' when faced with development levies.

'They have been a real pleasure to work with over the years,' he said.

Deputy Donnelly also commented that Wicklow County Council members voting unanimously to exclude the studio from development levies enabled the business to flourish.

'We're told that the new extension has the potential to create an extra 1,500 film-related jobs,' he said.

'There's huge potential for ancillary industries such as pre and post-production and animation,' he added.

Deputy Donnelly also expressed hope that such infrastructure will encourage more production companies to work at the studio which in turn would have a positive affect on tourism and the hospitality industry.

'This is fantastic news for County Wicklow,' he said.

It's expected the development will also see an additional 848 car parking spaces being developed and the submission proposal also made provision for a visitor centre, costume storage, make-up room, set construction, paint shop, plaster shop, metal shop, timber shop, chemical store, set assembly [area] and toilets.

The development will be spread across 12 buildings.

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