Dreams of the Reading and Wokingham area becoming the ‘Holywood of the UK’ are coming closer to reality as plans for new studios have been approved.

Last week, developers Stage Fifty won approval to complete work to build two film sound stages and eight workshops at Winnersh Triangle Business Park.

Although Stage Fifty had jumped the gun by already starting construction work, it needed to get approval from Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee to confirm the work was lawful.

Councillor Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey welcoming the application, stating that Wokingham Borough is rapidly becoming the ‘Hollywood of the UK’.

READ MORE: Progress on work to build 'Hollywood of the UK' in Shinfield

Councillor Shepherd-DuBey (Liberal Democrats, Winnersh) said: “It’s nice to see that Wokingham is becoming the Hollywood of the UK but I wouldn’t really want it to become Hollywood, to be brutally honest.

“I’ve lived in the area before and it’s just not the type of place you would like to go to during the evenings.

“But we should be very proud to have streaming media coming out of Wokingham, I’d like to see a few jobs for youth apprentices in this particular location, because we’d like to see the young people to get some new training, especially after the pandemic to be able to have something new to do.

“I think it’s a great idea and a great place to do it.”

It was pointed out that 250 jobs would be created at the studios.

READ MORE: 250 jobs coming to area as part of huge film studio plans 

Explaining the reason why work had already started, Oliver Bell, speaking on behalf of Studio Fifty, said: “This application is retrospective, which clearly is undesirable, however this is a reflection of the significant challenges posed by the fast pace of the creative industries and limited ability of the English planning system to accommodate it.

“Were works not to commence prior to planning permission being granted, the economic opportunity associated to this production would be lost to Wokingham, and likely the UK as a whole.”

Although cllr Stephen Conway (Liberal Democrats, Twyford) commented that retrospective applications are typically not appreciated, the plans were approved unanimously, subject to a section 106 legal agreement being reached.

Approval means production companies MGM and Sony Pictures can use the studios for upcoming films and TV series.

READ MORE: Updated plans for 'Hollywood of the UK' in Shinfield submitted

Studio Fifty also has a film studio in Farnborough which has been used by Netflix, Amazon and Sony.

The studios in Winnersh is completely separate from Shinfield Studios at Thames Valley Science Park, where huge plans for a permanent film studio site and TV studio audience stages were approved last year.

There are film studios in Arborfield, which were used for Netflix series The Witcher.