Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says he wants to see a 'Sunderland Barbie Movie' as he backs film studio plans

The Chancellor was on a visit to Nissan today.
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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has confirmed the Government is in talks with the team behind £450million plans for a massive TV and movie studio on the banks of the Wear.

FulwellCain - a joint venture between global entertainment company Fulwell 73 and Cain International - and Sunderland City Council has applied for permission to create the complex on the former Crown Works industrial site in Pallion, close to the Northern Spire bridge.

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An application setting out specific plans for phase one of the studios, and seeking outline consent for two further phases has been submitted.

How the studios would lookHow the studios would look
How the studios would look

The applicants say the plans could create more than 8,000 new jobs across the region and generate more than £300million a year for the North East economy.

Speaking last month, Fulwell73 co-founder Leo Pearlman said the scheme could be 'bigger than Nissan': "In simple terms, for this city, we are talking eight and a half thousand new jobs, you are talking £350million of annual GVA (gross value added), you are talking about changing the face of the city , it's that dramatic," he said.

"It is as big - if not bigger - than Nissan in the 80s - that is the scale of the ambition."

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In all, the development would deliver a 1.68million sq ft film industry hub, with 20 premium sound stages suitable for major feature film and HETV productions, if the plan is supported by UK Government.

Jeremy Hunt was at Nissan today, for the announcement that the car giant is to build three new all-electric models on Wearside, securing the future of the factory into the next decade.

Asked about the studio plan, Mr Hunt was staying tight-lipped, though he did confirm talks had begun.

"We have been having very good discussions with the people who are hoping to invest here," he said.

"All I will say is, this year's California blockbuster Barbie was shot in Hertfordshire - next time, let's have a Sunderland Barbie."

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