An old power station in Greenwich is set to be transformed into a Hollywood-style film studio to be run by a company which had a hand in making in top international blockbusters.
Plumstead Power Station was being used by Crossrail, but now tech-firm Mo-Sys plans to refurbish it to create a “world-leading” virtual production studio.
Greenwich council signed-off plans at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, February 23, with the town hall contributing a minimum of £3million to the project as a part of a grant funding agreement.
The power station has been used in recent years by Crossrail as a work depot, but will no longer be needed as the Elizabeth Line nears completion. As a result, it is being handed back to the council.
The agreement with Mo-Sys is the latest move by the council in their attempts to regenerate Plumstead – the company’s film credits include hit movies The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, Life of Pi, The Shape of Water and Aquaman.
Its technicians have also helped make hit series Stranger Things, House of Cards, Sherlock and Orange is the New Black.
Council officers said the Greenwich-based virtual production company put forward the best offer for the power station.
They added: “Together, Mo-Sys and the council will build a globally respected media hub and centre of film production with wide-ranging positive impacts on the Plumstead area.”
Mo-Sys will also relocate their existing Greenwich offices to the site of the power station and open eight studio stages that can be used to rent by industry leaders or for community events and international partners.
Opposition councillor Charlie Davis raised concerns that Greenwich is becoming too reliant on the entertainment sector.
He told the cabinet last night: “In terms of having a diverse local economy, which I’m sure is something we all agree is incredibly important, taking this scheme alongside Woolwich Works, it is making an area of the borough where we’re doing a lot of regeneration quite reliant on one sector.
“What have we done as a council to look at the fact that we are basically doing all regeneration powered by the entertainment sector? Have we looked at the risks of that?
“And how are we mitigating those risks if say, there was another coronavirus pandemic, which meant that work in that sector could not go ahead, how are we making sure that doesn’t have a large impact on the local economy, and therefore local jobs for local people?”
Council leader Danny Thorpe said in response: “I don’t think we would agree as a cabinet that this is the entertainment industry.
“I think there’s a difference between the entertainment industry and the creative and cultural industry and actually, they are a significant contributer to the regeneration of London.
“If you look at the value of the creative industry in London, it’s in the region of £42bn pounds.
“I would add for the record that whilst we have substantial regeneration in progress in Woolwich, Plumstead and other areas, we are regenerating huge swathes across the borough.
“We recognise that one size doesn’t fit all, absolutely, but in terms of the creative industries in the borough, they do play a substantial role already.
“There’s an ever-increasing demand for new content, and I think we feel secure that actually this is an area of growth that will add something different to Plumstead.”
Mo-Sys has been contacted for comment.
Pictured top: Plumstead power station (image: Braveheart)