WECA invests £11.8m in Bottle Yard Studios expansion

Pale Horse filming

More big-budget film and TV productions could be attracted to the South West with an £11.8m investment from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to expand The Bottle Yard Studios.

The Bottle Yard Studios plays host to a wide range of productions, including drama, children’s TV, feature films, gameshows and commercials. Its growth will help support other businesses across the region which rely on film and TV production opportunities.

Tim Bowles, Mayor of the West of England, said: “The Bottle Yard Studios is a terrific example of our region’s vibrant creative sector that brings so much joy to people right across the globe. I’m very pleased that as part of our Economic Recovery plan, we can help Bottle Yard Studios with £11.8m to expand and, with support from my team at Invest Bristol and Bath, attract more production companies to the West of England to help showcase the wonderful talent and opportunities we have in our region.”

The expansion plan, which it is estimated will create around 1,000 jobs over a 10-year period, includes the conversion of an industrial property located at South Bristol’s Hawkfield Business Park, less than half a mile from the main Bottle Yard site, into three new sound stages, complete with production offices, prop stores and costume/makeup areas.

The proposed works will take the number of sound stages available at The Bottle Yard Studios from eight to 11, whilst improvement work will also be carried out on the existing buildings at the main Bottle Yard site.

Laura Aviles, Senior Bristol Film Manager for Bristol City Council responsible for The Bottle Yard Studios & Bristol Film Office, said: “This is an extremely positive step in the right direction for our expansion plan. At The Bottle Yard Studios we’ve seen a significant post-Covid rise in demand for space, which was already high before the pandemic. Many production companies are now seeking to secure studios for multiple year periods.

“With more high-end TV titles opting to shoot in Bristol than ever before, this expansion will enable The Bottle Yard Studios to attract an even greater percentage of that potential business to the region. Valuable jobs will be generated for Bristol’s talented crew base, local companies will see an increase in workflow and vital career opportunities for industry entrants from all parts of the city will be created, particularly for those living close to the Studios in South Bristol. All at a time when these opportunities are needed more than ever.”