Dragon International Film Studios
There has been media coverage this week concerning the delays to the proposed Dragon International Film Studios project at Llanilid.
The Assembly Government offered a Regional Selective Assistance Grant towards the project originally in July 2003. This was towards Phase 1 of the proposal, a film studios complex with the creation of 310 jobs. This offer expired without being accepted as the company were unable to agree the financial conditions attached to it.
Following further discussions and a reduction in the project capital costs, a revised and reduced offer of RSA was made in June 2005 in relation to the same number of jobs. The company raised further queries concerning the financial conditions of the offer and scheduling of the payments. Senior officials subsequently met representatives of the company, including Lord Attenborough, to discuss the conditions of RSA and again in January 2006. Despite the opportunities given by officials, the company has yet to respond formally with the further information requested.
WEFO have also offered ERDF support to Westair towards five silent stages and to Cofton Wales towards infrastructure costs. These are being closely monitored by WEFO as any slippage would impact on the applicants’ ability to draw down the funds.
No money has been paid out to any of the parties to date. Payment of ERDF and RSA would be conditional upon meeting the targets, including job targets, indicated in the grant applications.
Regular meetings of stakeholders are held at the Llanilid site involving representatives from Rhondda Cynon Taf; Cofton Wales Ltd; Dragon/Westair/Joseph Villard Partnership and Assembly Government Officials. The most recent meeting was held on 20 September 2006. At these meetings the urgent need for early progress is regularly reinforced by Assembly Government officials.
Phase 2 of the project would involve the development of a themed attraction and additional film-making and support facilities as well as a hospital. This future development would cost around £145 million and is forecast to create a further 1,400 direct jobs over 10 years. Phase 2 is not part of any current grant application.
Transport Wales has agreed in principle to a new motorway junction east of Junction 35. However, construction of the junction will not be permitted to commence until completion of a certain percentage of the studio and theme park.
The Assembly Government remains committed to supporting the project and is doing what it can to bring the matters to a successful conclusion.