Luton site to be converted into TV and film studios serving Bollywood
60 full-time jobs have been promised
A building in Luton is to be used as Bollywood film and television studios, creating 60 full-time jobs in the process.
Vashu Bhagnani, of Pooja Studios, submitted an application to convert and change the use of a storage and distribution centre in Dallow, previously used by the International Wine Centre.
The plans include facilities for training in film and television production, catering and storage, as well as office space and three portable cabins, according to a report to the borough council's development management committee.
"The site is situated within the Dallow Road Category A employment area and was first developed as a part of the wider redevelopment of the Laporte Chemicals site in the 1980s," said the report.
"Extensions and minor changes have occurred within the intervening period, but the site remains largely as it was towards the end of the 1980s."
There were five representations received relating to noise, parking, the appearance of the building and that work had begun already.
"Nothing requiring planning permission has occurred to the knowledge of the local planning authority," added the report.
"The predominant concern arising from the proposed use relates to noise and disturbance associated with the production of television programmes and films.
"In considering these issues, it's noted that production would take place inside the building with a planning condition to ensure that this is the case.
"There are 82 parking spaces, which would be reduced to 70 when buses are in use for transporting employees to and from the site."
Principal planning officer Graham Dore told the committee: "The principle of the development is acceptable given the commercial nature of the use within this employment area.
"The proposed use would offer an equivalent degree of employment and would lead to the introduction of a new industry to the borough, which helps in safeguarding and growing the local economy," he said.
"The only significant external change relate to the siting of three portable cabins to the frontage of the current building.
"All three will be limited to a period of one-year, which has been agreed with the applicant, and no harm is attributed to these temporary structures on that basis."
The three temporary cabins can remain on site for up to a year, unless an extension is agreed before then.
Labour Farley councillor Mahmood Hussain said: "This will mean fewer lorries coming into the site because HGVs getting in and out of that premises is a major problem, and it'll be an improvement without so many reversing out.
"The area's got a serious parking problem, so highways need to be monitoring any development here in the longer term."
Labour Farley councillor Dave Taylor, who chairs the committee, explained: "There won't be more vehicle movements than before, probably fewer."
Councillors unanimously approved the plans.