Reprieve for Twickenham with new buyer

Twickenham Studios is to continue as a film production and audio post-production centre after the initial bid to buy the site and redevelop it for housing was blocked, writes Kevin Hilton.
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Twickenham Studios is to continue as a film production and audio post-production centre after the initial bid to buy the site and redevelop it for housing was blocked, writes Kevin Hilton. The administrators are now negotiating with a new potential buyer for the west London facilities, with the undertaking that the existing staff will be kept on. The studios opened in 1913 and despite being home to many big name British and international productions over the years, supported by a well-regarded audio department, the business was put into administration on 21 February. At that point the administrator, Gerald Krasner of the Begbies Traynor group, was in talks with property developer and building company Taylor Wimpey. All indications were the site would be demolished to make way for new housing. This caused an outcry both locally and internationally, with residents and big names in cinema, including Steven Spielberg, who directed part of War Horse there, all denouncing the decision to close the studios. The opposition, and problems in obtaining a change in use for the premises, caused Taylor Wimpey to withdraw its application. Krasner is now talking to a new bidder, which has pledged to keep the site operating as a film studio. This will include the audio post-production department, which includes the Dolby Premier certificated Theatre 1 (pictured). At the time of going to press negotiations were still within a four-week period during which the identity of the potential buyer was not being released. Krasner commented that even if this deal fell through he still had "one or two" other offers as back-up, again with the commitment that the buildings would be sold as a studio. www.twickenhamstudios.com

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