Plans to build “world-class” film and TV studios on former Stewartby brickwork quarry

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How the Home of Production (HOP)at Quest Pit Stewartby might look
How the Home of Production (HOP)at Quest Pit Stewartby might look

A former quarry pit, once destined to be a home for an ambitious aquatic project in Stewartby, could now become a state-of-the-art film and television studio.

Home of Production (HOP), a newly formed film & television studio development company, is seeking views from the Bedford community on its proposals for HOP Bedfordshire which would be built on the quarry Quest Pit just outside Bedford.

As well as flexible studio and production facilities, the scheme promises full-service spacious production offices, backlot, timber yard, storage, mills, dedicated workshops and screening rooms.

A statement to media from HOP, said their Bedfordshire master plan is designed to be “efficient and promote the well-being of cast and crew for each and every production.

“On-site accommodation and creche, a rewilded water body, a central boulevard and canal will create a healthy and sustainable working environment.

“The proposed world-class onsite facilities will also reduce reliance on deliveries and minimise impact on local roads.”

HOP would now like to collect views from local people in-person at two drop-in sessions at:

  • Stewartby United Church – Park Crescent, Stewartby, Bedford MK43 9LL on Wednesday 27 April, 3pm – 7pm
  • Bedford Corn Exchange (Harpur Suite) – 13 St Paul’s Square, Bedford MK40 1SL on Thursday 28 April, 3pm – 7pm

At the session, the project team will be on hand to talk visitors through the proposed development and to answer any questions or queries, alongside ways to submit the feedback and comments.

More about the plans will also be available at hopbedfordshire.co.uk, where there is also a feedback form for the developer to receive and review comments.

For those that cannot make the in-person drop-in sessions, there will also be an open-to-all online presentation of the proposals on Tuesday 3 May from 6pm until 7pm.

Which will also be followed by a live Q+A. Those wishing to attend should register in advance at hopbedfordshire.co.uk/get-involved.

You can also contact the team behind the plans at hopbedfordshire@becg.com or 020 3219 7632.

House of Production (HOP) Bedfordshire proposed site at Quest Pit Stewartby
Home of Production (HOP) Bedfordshire proposed site at Quest Pit Stewartby

Quest Pit history

Quest Pit was part of the Stewartby Brickworks and has been unused since 2008.

It was, however, the proposed site for the controversial NIRAH project which would have been an aquatic research and conservation centre around a 200 million gallon freshwater aquarium.

The aquarium, scientific research centre, and visitor attraction was originally expected to cost £375m, and would have been four times the size of the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Despite getting planning permission the project was plagued with issues including lack of funding and was eventually abandoned in 2014 leaving Bedford Borough and Central Beds councils owed at least £1.6m, with central government owed more than £3.5m.

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