Wexford film studio on hold as objection filed

Appeal lodged An Bord Pleanála against recent decision of Wexford County Council to grant planning permission for the project

Wexford County Council planners have sought a contribution from Tara Studios of over €136,000 towards the cost of upgrading the local road network to address concerns raised by local residents.

Wexford County Council planners have sought a contribution from Tara Studios of over €136,000 towards the cost of upgrading the local road network to address concerns raised by local residents.

 

Plans for a €20 million film studio in north Wexford have to be put on hold following an objection against the scale of the project in a quiet rural area.

Tara Studios will have to wait another four months to find out if it has been successful in seeking approval for its plans to develop what it claims will be one of the largest film production facilities in Ireland at Borleagh Manor around 5km outside Gorey, Co Wexford.

The company which was established by the former chief executive of Pinewood Studios, Ivan Dunleavey and film financier, John Gleeson, plans to construct seven sound stages, ten workshops and associated production facilities within the grounds of Borleagh Manor, a listed 19th century Georgian building on 160 acres of woodland.

Appeal

However, an appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Wexford County Council to grant planning permission for the project.

The development is expected to create up to 120 jobs during the construction phase and 30 permanent jobs when operational as well as catering for up to 400 cast and film crew plus 200 extras.

The project has received strong support from community groups in the nearby village of Killanerin as well as local councillors

Wexford County Council said the project represented a significant investment for the north of the county which would have positive implications for the local economy in terms of employment, hospitality and tourism.

Council planners have sought a contribution from Tara Studios of over €136,000 towards the cost of upgrading the local road network to address concerns raised by local residents about the impact of additional traffic generated by the project as a condition of the grant of planning permission.

However, the objection lodged against the plans for the film studios claim they represent an opportunistic and inappropriate development in an area that was unsuitable for such a development.

It was originally hoped that the studios could be operational by the first half of 2022 but the appeal combined with the introduction of Level 5 restrictions to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic means that timeline is now unlikely to be met.

Tara Studios will be eligible for tax relief of up to 37% under the Section 481 scheme which was extended for another year in the recent budget by the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe.

Productions

The tax credit compares to the 32 per cent available for productions filmed in Dublin and Wicklow with the 5 per cent bonus designed to encourage increased film production in the regions.

The company claims the proposed facility will cater for the growing demand from local and international producers who want to use Ireland as a location for their projects.

It is believed Tara Studios paid around €3 million to buy Borleagh Manor, which was previously the home of actor Richard Greene who played the lead role in the long-running ITV series from the late 1950s, The Adventures of Robin Hood.

A ruling in the case is due by June 21st