Search for backing to build film studios in East Durham

Computer-generated image of proposed studios
Computer-generated image of proposed studios
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A BUSINESSMAN behind multimillion plans to create a media village says he is continuing to search for a financial backer.

The Coolmore Consortium was given approval for the Centre for Creative Excellence in May 2008, but was unable to press on with building on the 200-acre site at Dawdon when the credit crunch hit.

The project could create up to 2,500 jobs and would include film and video studios, editing facilities for music and DVDs, a 150-bed hotel, student campuses, leisure facilities, parkland and public buildings.

Philip Moross, chief executive officer of Cutting Edge Group (CEG), is a member of the consortium, which also includes John Wood, the boss of construction firm Tolent, and Tom Maxfield, who turned Seaham Hall into a luxury hotel.

Their idea was to turn Seaham into the Hollywood of the North but since the 2008, the group has struggled to find the cash to kick off the development.

Mr Moross said: “We continue to try and secure the finance required to build the project, but am yet to find a financier that is willing and able to fund the project.”

His company has recently worked on the music for Sky’s Yonderland series, Parade’s End, which stared Benedict Cumberbatch as well as the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s Filth, and The Railway Man, which features Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.

He added: “CEG are doing the music for 30 to 40 films and TV projects per annum and are better placed than ever to attract producers to make projects in the region.”

The issue of funding has previously been raised with Prime Minister David Cameron by Easington MP Grahame Morris in a bid to find help to move the proposals on.

The consortium has given its backing the enterprise zones for the region, which could attract the cash and has called for tax breaks for those who want to pump money into the plans.