The town is one step closer to ‘becoming the Hollywood of the UK’ after plans for a TV studio has been approved.

The TV studio will host game shows and chat shows with live audiences and have a capacity of  seating audiences of up to 600 people.

It will be located at the Thames Valley Science Park, which is owned by the University of Reading.

Filming at the studio would typically take place between 7am and 11pm each day.

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The TV studio forms part of a grand scheme to create ‘Cine Valley’ at the Science Park, which also involves building studios for feature films at ‘Shinfield Studios’.

The plan was approved at Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee yesterday (Wednesday, July 14).

During the meeting, Councillor Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey (Liberal Democrat) asked: “Are we going to become the Hollywood of the UK?” To which planning officer Christopher Howard said: “Potentially, this is a rather large studio space.”

There were concerns raised over the potential of inadequate parking at the Thames Valley Science Park. It currently has 287 spaces, which is being increased by 257 spaces to provide a total of 544 bays.

For the TV studio itself, the planning officers proposed a condition which would require the University of Reading to build 175 additional spaces to accommodate audiences.

Bracknell News: A CGI of Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield. Credit: Scott BrownriggA CGI of Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield. Credit: Scott Brownrigg

Cllr Andrew Mickleburgh (Lib Dem) questioned whether 175 spaces would be enough, raising fears that car parking would ‘spill out’ into nearby estates. Planning officer Howard said the council’s highways officer had judged the number of spaces as “sufficient”.

Later in the meeting, it was revealed that the 175-space figure was based on an estimate audience members coming in a group of three per car. Cllr Stephen Conway (Lib Dem) called the estimate “somewhat optimistic”. Attempting to allay his concerns, planning officer Judy Kelly said audience members can use alternative methods of transport, including a 30-minute bus service.

She added that for special events, a traffic management plan by the studio would have to be drawn up, which could include shuttle buses for audiences running to and from Reading train station.

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The TV studio was approved on the condition that the University draws up a section 106 agreement, otherwise known as developer contributions to pay for council services. If the University of Reading fails to form a section 106 agreement, the plan would be rejected.

Councillors also approved a condition proposed by Cllr Angus Ross (Conservative) insisting that the council be given prior consent for any overnight filming between 11pm and 7am.

The approval of the TV studio follows the approval of the Shinfield Studios plan in March, which involves part of the Science Park being used for feature films for a temporary period of five years. It is due to open in 2022.