Manchester studio where Peaky Blinders and The Crown were filmed to be sold

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Space Studios in West Gorton has hosted some of the UK’s biggest production companies with shows on Amazon and Netflix.

A studio in east Manchester where parts of Peaky Blinders and The Crown have been filmed is set to be sold. A deal has been struck to sell the award-winning Space Studios in West Gorton which was built by Manchester city council.

The television and film studio has hosted some of the UK’s biggest production companies with much of its drama content available on Netflix and Amazon. The studio in Vaughan Street is now poised for further expansion with plans approved last year, but the council has decided not to take this forward itself.

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Manchester city council has said this is an ‘opportune time’ for the local authority to sell the ‘bespoke facility’ which has been managed and operated by a company it owns called Manchester Creative Digital Assets since 2014. The identity of the buyer and the sale price agreed have not yet been revealed.

However, deputy city treasurer Tom Wilkinson told councillors this week that he is ‘confident’ the council has got the best price following a ‘competitive sales process’. The sale of the site was approved on Wednesday (March 22).

Deputy leader Luthfur Rahman said: “Space Studios has been a magnificent facility in terms of film and studio space in West Gorton. This gives us an opportunity to secure long-term investment and further develop that offer around film, digital and tech in West Gorton for the whole of Manchester.”

A council report sets out the options considered by the local authority. It says that there are ‘increasing risks’ to the continued operation of Space Studios.

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Space Studios in Vaughan Street, Manchester. April 2021. Credit: Google.Space Studios in Vaughan Street, Manchester. April 2021. Credit: Google.
Space Studios in Vaughan Street, Manchester. April 2021. Credit: Google.

This includes the increasing number of competitors and the need for further investment. The council also considered delivering the already approved third phase of development of the studio itself, but concluded that there would be no justification for the local authority to take this on due to the rising costs.

Disposing of the 250-year lease to a private sector organisation was identified as the preferred option. The council would still be the freeholder of the site.

The report says that the council will aim to control the use of the site as TV and film studios for up to 10 years, try to incentivise the delivery of the third phase of development and include a buy-back option if this is not delivered. The site was put up on the market with a preferred bidder now selected.

Manchester city council’s executive committee has now approved the sale.

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