Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Production firm behind Layer Cake, Stardust and Kingsman gets green light for studio and stunt school

A production company has won permission to set up a film studio and stunt training facility on the northern edge of Derby.

MARV Studios has been given temporary planning to start using the empty Aida Bliss factory, in Chester Green, for production and what would be Europe’s first ever dedicated stunt training facility.

The company has worked on blockbusters such as Harry Brown, Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass and Rocketman, with stars such as Michael Caine, Daniel Craig, Robert de Niro and Helen Mirren.

The business ultimately wants to invest £13 million making the facility a permanent film studio.

Planning documents said film-making would take place typically between 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday during the temporary occupation period “for a maximum of 50 employees at the peak activity (during filming) on site”.

Maintenance works are being agreed in collaboration with Derby City Council to make the building safe and accessible for the film-making process.

The documents state: “During the temporary use period of nine months, the space within the modern highway shed will be used to practice and eventually film scenes as part of the specific filmmaking activities for movie production.”

Speaking on behalf of the MARV Studios team, British stuntman, freerunner and ex-gymnast Damien Walters previously said: “The academy will provide new studio space for MARV, the production company behind the Kingsman film franchise, and other leading international film and TV productions.

“In addition, it would accommodate Europe’s first stunt training academy, and also provide a national centre of excellence in areas of tumbling, trampolining and martial arts and parkour.

“Core to delivering the centre of excellence will be the opportunity for a wide range of local people and organisations to use the facility – from school children in Derby to world-class, high-performance athletes – this will support grassroots and community sports, as well as elite athletes and Olympians.”

Derby City Council planning officers approved the plans with the hope the long-term plans could help put Derby on the map and drive up the city’s economy.

A council statement said: “This temporary permission would bring back into use a prominent, currently vacant and historically important building bringing with it environmental, economical and social benefits.

“The proposed use is unlikely to have a detrimental impact on residential amenity, the local road network or public health.

“Furthermore, the proposal would not harm the historic fabric of the building nor the setting of the Little Chester Conservation Area or Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Buffer Zone.”

Council leader Coun Chris Poulter has previously labelled the plans "immensely exciting for Derby" which would help put the city "on the map".

The Aida Bliss site has stood empty for 20 years. There were advanced plans to turn it into new council housing before Marv Studios bosses held talks with the council and the public earlier this year.