Cumbernauld back in picture for Scottish film studio

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 14:57 on 8 February 2015

Entertainment    Outlander    OKI

The old OKI printing plant is understood to be on the preferred list. Picture: courtesy of Bill Henry.

CUMBERNAULD is back in the frame to become home to Scotland’s first-ever specialist film studio, after a bid to open a film studio in Glasgow was rejected.

Scottish Enterprise – the body set up by the Scottish Government to deliver a major, state-of-the-art film studio for Scotland is understood to be viewing up Cumbernauld’s old Isola factory and OKI plant after the body rejected a bid to open a film studio in Glasgow.

Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise sources say that the new preferred location is Cumbernauld – which was snubbed in favour of Glasgow, last year – despite the town playing host to a major studio facility for the production of the U.S. television series, Outlander. 

Scottish Enterprise confirmed earlier this week that they were working on a deal with a mystery deal, which if approved, could be signed in around eight weeks’ time – despite no confirmation of where the studio would be based.

A statement from Scottish Enterprise later confirmed earlier this week that the agency was “working towards completing due diligence and agreeing heads of terms with the developer within the next eight weeks”.

We revealed in August 2013 that the former Isola warehouse was the main filming location for Outlander, with the production crews also filming in Cumbernauld Glen and throughout Scotland.

The Wyndford Road warehouse closed its doors on February, 10th, 2006 after a fire at the back of the facility’s premises, in 2003, slowed down the production of the facility’s main product – base products for printed circuit boards.

However, it is understood that Scottish Enterprise are also eyeing up the former 13.8 acre OKI printer plant site, at Cumbernauld’s Wardpark Industrial Estate, near Castlecary.

Japanese firm OKI shed half of its workforce at the Cumbernauld plant in April 2013, making 175 staff redundant, and relocating the following spring to another part of Cumbernauld, in a decision criticised by local politicians as a “serious blow” to the local economy. 

Nothing official has yet been confirmed by Scottish Enterprise, although the proximity of both the old OKI printer plant and Isola factory to the M8, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cumbernauld Airport – combined with the previous use of the area for filming is understood to be working to the area’s advantage. 

Campaigners claim that a lack of studio facilities have seen Scotland lag behind other countries, such as Northern Ireland and Wales, where cities such as Belfast and Wales are frequently used for the production of popular shows such Game of Thrones and Doctor Who. 

Gillian Berrie, founder of Film City Glasgow, confirmed earlier this week that the Film City’s bid to build a studio in the Govan area of Glasgow had been rejected.

She said: “We were ¬verbally informed that our proposal would not be taken forward – 30 minutes before Fiona Hyslop appeared before the inquiry. 

“That four years of hard work, research, advocacy and consultation by Film City can been be distilled into a short ‘thanks but no thanks’ meeting, minutes before a major government inquiry, is very troubling,” she added.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said it could not comment on the location of the proposed new private-sector development for reasons of “commercial confidentiality”.