Hartlepool could be a perfect location for a film studio, according to a boss at a college involved in the project.
A former Hartlepool Borough Council depot is the perfect venue to create a film and TV studio in the heart of the town, said Pat Chapman from Cleveland College of Art and Design.
The college is working with Hartlepool Borough Council to develop the project in the former depot in Lynn Street as part of the regeneration of the Church Street area.
Mr Chapman, the college’s head of employability and external relations, said the scheme was a reaction to demand from the industry, with no sound stages of similar size between the M62 corridor and central Scotland.
The project was a continuation of the college’s existing work, he added: “We offer a variety of creative degrees, among which are production design for stage and screen and also creative film.
“A couple of our lecturers came up with the idea of establishing a commercial sound stage.”
The depot buildings had been retained when the college took over the site because they were ideal for redevelopment.
“These buildings are lovely big open spaces, which are perfect for turning into sound stages,” he said.
“They are high enough for hanging lighting rigs, for erecting sets, there is space for a workshop for prop building and design.”
These buildings are lovely big open spaces, which are perfect for turning into sound stages.Pat Chapman
ITV’s recent series about the young Queen Victoria had shown what could be achieved outside traditional industry centres, he said.
“‘Victoria’ was filmed in an aircraft hanger on an old RAF base near Selby,” said Mr Chapman.
“It had holes in the walls, the birds could fly in and out, yet they produced something like that.
“Lynn Street is in a better condition and has much of the infrastructure the industry is looking for. We are three hours away from London on a direct train and we have got direct links to the Manchester and Salford production centres.
“This is a perfect location to establish a commercial studio in Hartlepool.”
The project would build on existing links between the college, the council and the movie and TV industry, which has seen shows such as George Gently and Vera filmed in the town.
“We have got such a strong relationship with the local authority through the regeneration of the Church Street area,” said Mr Chapman.
“We could not wish to have a better partner in this than the local authority.
“We want to run this commercially, but when it is not being used by production companies, we can use it ourselves.
“It is really exciting.”