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23 August 2017 | Online since 2003


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16 April 2017 11:34:45 |News,Property News,Rural Life

Scottish smallholder refuses to give in to demands for landmark £250m film studio


An artist's impression of Pentland Studios

An artist's impression of Pentland Studios

A Scottish farmer whose family has farmed the same land for generations has refused to give in to demands for the construction of a new £250m film studio.
Hollywood A-listers could next year be roaming the land after plans to build Scotland’s first purpose-built film studio were approved in principle by ministers.
But Jim Telfer, 82, said he and his daughter Mary Begbie, 52, were ready to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to thwart any bid to build on their rented 60-acre plot.
Telfer can trace his roots on the rolling farmland outside Edinburgh back to 1915.
Although the family own the farmhouse and buildings, they do not own the land – it belongs to the Gibsone family, descendants of the local landowners who signed the original lease to Telfer’s grandfather.
Nick Gibsone, an advertising executive who owns the land, wants the Telfers to leave the farm so that he can turn over his own property to the Hollywood studio development, called Pentland Studios.
Stalemate
But the two sides have been locked in stalemate for almost a year.
Sources told The Guardian that any move to evict the family would have to be approved by the Scottish land court, which can rule over disputes between tenant farmers and landlords.
Friends of Gibsone said he had made a number of offers, including a £250,000 compensation package that would allow Telfer to continue living in the farmhouse “until his death”, at which point Gibsone would seek to take control of the smallholding.
The proposed studio complex for Telfer’s smallholding will be built in phases and will eventually feature two backlots, six sound stages up to 70ft high, a hotel, visitor centre, film academy, workshops and a creative industries hub.
It is claimed that up to 1,600 jobs could be created by the project, whose first studios are hoped to be operating by the end of 2018.


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