Film studio deal will bring Hollywood to historic Perthshire estate

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Dysart Harbour was one of the local locations featured in Outlander.

Talks are under way to lure more Hollywood productions to Perthshire after Scottish Ministers cleared the way for the country’s first purpose-built film studio.

The £250 million movie-maker compound will be created at Straiton, on the edge of Edinburgh, after planning permission was granted by the Scottish Government.

Developers, PSL Land Ltd have entered advanced negotiations with the historic Abercairny Estate, near Crieff. Studio bosses want to use the 10,000-acre site’s lochs, woodlands, mansion house and walled garden for outdoor shoots.

In recent years, scenes from the hit time-travel show Outlander were shot on the estate, with its grounds transformed into a South American plantation.

A spokesman said: “Abercairny Estate is very pleased that PSL have progressed their Straiton project through the planning system.

“We are currently working with the Pentland team on attracting TV and film production to the estate.”

The Abercairny Estate, about 90 minutes drive from the Straiton site, has been the home of the Moray family and the Murray clan. Earliest records date back to the 13th century, when Abercairny was owned by the third Earl of Strathearn.

The main studio, which will house six huge sound stages, will be built across 100 acres of greenbelt land at Old Pentland Farm. It is said up to 1,600 jobs could be created by the project. A hotel and visitor centre are also planned.

Jim O’Donnell, director of development for PSL said: “We are extremely pleased to have reached this major milestone in the studio complex’s journey, after a considerable period of time and work to date.

“We particularly want to thank those who have supported the project throughout the past three years, and we look forward to reaching the next milestone as soon as possible.”

Developers are now drawing up a more detailed planning application, which will be submitted to Midlothian Council at a future date.

A Scottish government spokeswoman added: “Ministers welcome the potential for significant socio-economic benefits on a local and national scale through job creation and economic development.

“The Scottish government is committed to seizing the opportunities available in film and television by significantly increasing investment and streamlining public sector support.

“We have marked our intention to support the screen sector with a doubling of investment to £20m next year for development, production and growth and share the sector’s ambition to see the creation of additional film and TV infrastructure to support continued growth in production spend.”

The plan was backed by, amongst others, senior location scout David Taylor, who helped transform Glasgow’s George Square into downtown 
Philadelphia for World War Z.

He launched a fresh bid to lure more 
big-name shoots to Perthshire in 2015, pointing out that Outlander had helped the Scottish industry grow by £12 million to more than £42m last year.

However, opponents have argued the Straiton site is the wrong location for such a huge development.