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Sunderland film studios to go ahead as part of North East ‘trailblazer’ deal

Plans for a major film and TV studio that aim to bring thousands of jobs to the North East have become a reality as part of a “trailblazer” extension of the region’s devolution scheme.

The “deeper devolution” deal for the North East includes £25m to develop the Riverside Sunderland area for Crown Works Studios, which aim to generate more than £300m for the North East economy each year by becoming a major destination for film and high-end TV production.

Sunderland City Council and the North East mayoral authority have confirmed investment of up to £120m towards the project using the tools provided by the deal, helping to leverage £450m from production company Fulwell 73 and financiers Cain International to build 20 soundstages on the site. The project has been described as one of the most significant economic developments for the region since the Nissan plant was built in the 1980s.

Councillor Amanda Hopgood, interim portfolio holder for culture, creative, tourism and sport ahead of the formation of a new North East Mayoral Combined Authority in May, and leader of Durham County Council, said: “Devolution brings with it the opportunity for local leaders to back projects that are regionally significant, directing trailblazer funding directly into the North East’s priorities.

“The Government’s confirmation of our trailblazer paves the way for Fulwell 73 to push ahead with this ambitious project, unlocking £450m of private sector investment to turn this exciting vision into a reality. We are proud to back Crown Works Studios, a project that brings the promise of thousands of new jobs and the opportunity to build a local supply chain that will support generations of people in this brilliant region.”

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