A plan for a new €150m film studio and media campus in Co Wicklow has been given the go-ahead.
Wicklow County Council has granted planning permission to Greystones Media Campus (GMC) Ltd for its "state of the art" film studio and media campus on an almost 50-acre site in Greystones in a project that will create more than 1,500 jobs.
The media campus company is a 50/50 joint venture between builders, John Sisk & Son Ltd and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) which is managed and controlled by State-owned debt agency, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).
Already, Ardmore Studios and Ashford Studios have put Wicklow at the centre of the Irish movie and TV industry with productions including Braveheart, the Tudors, Penny Dreadful and Ashford's Vikings.
Planning documentation lodged with the new plan states that the studio scheme's direct, indirect and induced economic impact has a gross value of €1.54bn which, it states, will represent a significant stimulus to Greystones and the wider metropolitan region.
The promoters of the venture state that the GMC will aim to capitalise on the growing demand for content by the likes of new market entrants, Amazon, Netflix and Hulu and more established operators such as HBO and Disney.
A letter lodged with the application states that there is currently an acute global shortage of studio space to meet the growing demands of those entities engaged in the 'content creation race’.
The planning documents state that the project when complete will more than double the stage capacity in Ireland.
The promoters state that the proposal "has the potential to be transformative in the manner in which the Guggenheim was transformative for Bilbao".
The scheme involves the construction of 73,511 sq metres of film studio across 15 buildings at the IDA Business and Technology Park at Greystones.
The cover letter states that "the proposed development supports a quantum of scale designed to position the Dublin Wicklow cluster within the film industry as a global hub for international investment and production".
The letter adds that the development is "a project both in scale, vision, global, national, regional and local reach and significance that epitomises the Government vision for the film industry".
The letter states that a central motivation for ISIF's involvement "is that the development of this studio will support the broader film and TV industry and in particular the existing Irish studio infrastructure across Ireland but specifically in County Wicklow where a globally recognised cluster will be created".
It adds that the ISIF has identified the Greystones project "as strategically important to address the shortage of capacity and promote Ireland as a location for foreign and domestic producers".
The documentation says that the ISIF involvement underlines the project's economic rationale and its national importance.
The letter states: "This development can create, embed and anchor a global industry in Ireland and Wicklow for the long term".
A number of local residents expressed concern over the impact of the plan and third parties have the option of appealing the council decision to An Bord Pleanala.