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Edinburgh to get a touch of Hollywood with its own film studio

Tom at Car Hire Edinburgh Airport will be keeping his signature book handy just on the chance he spots a film star about the city.

A field on the outskirts of Edinburgh has been earmarked as the place to build a film studio at a cost of £40 million. This could mean the world-class studio could see the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie produce new projects in the area.

Plans unveiled today for the Pentland Studios project come after the Scottish Government signalled earlier this year that it wanted to build a major home for movie production. Developed by a key figure from Ealing Studios, the home of a host of well-known films and television programmes, a blueprint has already been submitted to planning chiefs at Midlothian Council ahead of a scheduled opening date of 2017.

Jeremy Pelzer, a former studio director at Ealing, was also managing director of Elstree Studios – where EastEnders is made. His partner, Donald Wilson, has held senior positions at Murray International Holdings and Premier Hytemp.

The 29-acre development would be almost twice as big as Pinewood and with hotel, leisure and retail facilities also included in the plans, experts believe Straiton would become an unlikely hot-spot for A-list celebrity sightings.

James Hickey, a former director of the Edinburgh Film Festival who worked on the 2005 Scottish movie Frozen, said “It’s great news, but Straiton will face great competition because most of the existing film industry is located in Glasgow.”

Studio developers said they wanted to reach new heights in the offering available to film makers looking to invest in the UK. The biggest set would be 30,000sq ft and 70ft high, allowing even the most challenging of productions to be filmed on the Straiton site.