Lights, camera, action…Delight as Stirling Studios announced

Stirling Council is thrilled to announce the creation of Stirling Studios, which will be among the biggest film studio campuses in Scotland and pave the way for thousands of high-skilled jobs as well as major economic benefits. 

Chief Executive Carol Beattie is confident about the future success of the studios, which will be located on the former MoD land at Forthside, as she identified that the site and buildings could fit well with the needs in the sector.

She said: “In a previous role as Director of Creative Industries for Scottish Development International, I knew there was still an opening for more production space in Scotland. At that point, I spent time in London speaking to the British Film Commission and studio operators such as Pinewood, Three Mills and Warner Brothers to understand the specifications of a good site. 

“When I saw the unique buildings and location at Forthside, I considered it to be a fantastic fit, which has since been confirmed through our close consultation with the industry, including Screen Scotland.” 

Screen production is continuing to experience rapid growth driven by consumer demand for content across multiple distribution platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. Worldwide, in 2019, screen sector production had a total economic impact of $414 billion and supported 14 million full time jobs.  

Market trends, together with the hugely successful UK tax credits system, have driven a sustained expansion in TV and film productions across the UK. In 2021, total spend in the UK was £5.64 billion, up from £3.12 billion in 2021. This has been mirrored in Scotland with a recent Screen Scotland report showing a doubling of film and high-end TV production in the country between 2019 and 2021.

Stirling Studios will unlock significant investment and job opportunities, as well as an array of economic and social benefits. An independent economic impact assessment has estimated the project will create over 4,000 jobs in 25 years in a range of occupations, with the positive impacts filtering down the wider supply chains. 

Pictured at the former MoD land that will become Stirling Studios are (from left) Isabel Davis, Executive Director of Screen Scotland; UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont MP; Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane; Stirling Council Chief Executive, Carol Beattie

Pictured at the former MoD land that will become Stirling Studios are (from left) Isabel Davis, Executive Director of Screen Scotland; UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont MP; Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane; Stirling Council Chief Executive, Carol Beattie.

Whilst some of the job creation opportunities for film and TV production roles may immediately suggest acting, directing or producing, the range of jobs across existing industries within the Stirling and Forth Valley area that are required within the sector should not be underestimated.

Accessibility to a skilled workforce of joiners, labourers, plasters, scaffolders, lighting and electrical engineers, costume design, hairdressers, make-up artists etc. are critical in this sector and Stirling’s historical strengths in these areas provides a unique opportunity for growth.

Stirling’s geographical location provides the perfect triangle of success for the sector, with easy access for the talent from Glasgow, where crew base is well established, from Edinburgh, where growth has been significant in the last couple of years and now Stirling will be the centre point, connecting an exciting growth sector right across the central belt of Scotland. 

Public transport links the locations from East or West in just over 30 minutes and a new, regular train service from London to Stirling means that the sector will also be able to continue to grow and improve its environmental ambitions

The studios will be located on the former MoD land at Forthside which has been transferred to the Council through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal – a £214 million partnership between Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils, the University of Stirling and the UK and Scottish Governments. 

This ambitious project has been supported by repurposing a proportion of the £19m grant secured by the council from UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) for the redevelopment and regeneration of Forthside.

Rather than demolishing and clearing all of the existing buildings on the MoD land as previously intended, some of these will be retained and refurbished for the film and high-end TV campus. This will accelerate the start of economic activity and job creation on the site as early as this year, with the council currently investigating the best option for operating the facility. 

The remainder of the land will be redeveloped and cleared in line within existing plans, including the buildings not suitable for reuse. The other projects identified in the LUF bid, such as new roads, will still be delivered by early 2026 as a new sustainable and economically vibrant community takes shape in the Forthside area.

Experts have assessed there is currently 100,000 sq ft of studio space and 110,000 sq ft for production, logistics and office space at the site. This significant capacity and flexibility of space will enable Stirling Studios to fill current gaps in the market for TV and film production and support the rapid growth of the sector in Scotland and the UK.

Feedback on Stirling Studios from operators, producers and directors has been overwhelmingly positive, not only about the facilities but the other advantages of the site. These include: Stirling’s stunning scenery and natural landscapes, its central location, excellent transport links, as well as the opportunities to increase Scotland’s talent pool in a thriving sector through partnership working with the likes of the University of Stirling and Forth Valley College.  

The site has already been used as a filming location which will provide valuable experiences and lessons to serve future high-end productions. 

Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Stirling Studios brings one of those rare moments in Stirling’s history which offers the potential to be truly transformational.  We have an opportunity to embed an industry in our city which will bring thousands of high-skilled jobs, put us on a global creative map and deliver a significant economic boost to the region over many decades. 

“By making innovative use of the existing buildings on a former military site, we are creating a studio campus that will provide everything film producers need to meet demand in a thriving sector.  

“Students in our schools, our college and our University will be able to pursue creative careers right here in Stirling that in the past would have meant having to consider leaving to chase opportunities elsewhere.  

“I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work in getting us to this point.  We are determined to seize the moment for the people of Stirling and realise the rewards of this ambitious project.”  

UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont said: "Scotland and the UK are a true film and TV production success story and the creation of Stirling Studios to add to the high quality portfolio of content being produced on these shores is brilliant news.

"I'm delighted that £24 million UK Government funding is helping Stirling Council to purchase and redevelop the former MoD Forthside site. The jobs and economy boosting regeneration that will follow will provide fabulous opportunities for the region. 

"The UK Government is committed to making sure that Scotland and the wider UK remains an attractive location for film and high-end TV productions. That is why we have supported our world-leading creative industries with £1 billion in tax reliefs. In total we are investing £72 million in levelling up Stirling and Clackmannanshire and more than £3 billion across Scotland."

Isabel Davis, Executive Director of Screen Scotland said: “The Stirling site’s location and ready potential for conversion into a studio are both exceptionally promising. Scotland has recently seen significant growth in productions looking to access its internationally recognised cast and crew, as well as its versatile natural and built environments. 

“This new site will only add to Scotland’s considerable offering as a filming destination. Working with Stirling Council on this over the last few months, we have been very encouraged by the visionary approach that the team there have taken to get to this stage, including the opportunity to grow the local crew base. We look forward to continuing to work with them towards the realisation of the project.”

More information

Photo credits

Header image: Christopher Jackson Drone Videography & Photography

Group photo: Whyler Photos/Stirling Council

Film studio jobs

Some of the jobs that are key to supporting filming and production include the likes of joiners, labourers, plasters, scaffolders, lighting and electrical engineers, hairdressers, make-up artists. Further employment growth and community wealth building through the local supply chain needs of a film studio exists through services, such as catering, taxi and travel, accommodation and construction material providers.

Forthside masterplan

The future redevelopment of Forthside will be supported by an updated masterplan that was recently approved by council following a consultation. This sets out the overarching vision for the area and the key principles for future residential and business development. 

A design guide that outlines the details required to achieve this vision for Forthside – including defining the key development areas and parameters for buildings, setting out the required access routes and environmental improvements – is currently out for consultation with a report due back to council in June.