Andrew Pulver 

Twickenham Film Studios gets a lifeline

Agreed sale will see the studios' work continue and all jobs saved, say administrators

Campaigners attempting to avert the closure of Twickenham Film Studios are holding their breath after it was announced on Tuesday that a sale had been agreed to save the site, but the buyer's identity would remain secret until the deal had gone through.

Gerald Krasner, administrator for the studios, said: "It is the purchaser's intention to continue to trade as studios and to preserve all the jobs." He said the buyer had handed over a non-returnable deposit of £100,000, but would not reveal the full purchase price.

Protests erupted in February when it was announced that the venerable studio complex, one year away from its centenary, was to be sold to property developers.

Protesters were particularly incensed that no apparent effort had been made to market the site as a studio, as planning regulations state is necessary, before developers were offered the land. The fait accompli became even clearer when the sale of the studio fixtures and fittings was announced before any deal had gone through.

Despite the refusal of the culture minister, Jeremy Hunt, to intervene in the sale, the Save Twickenham Studios campaign attracted a large number of high profile and powerful supporters, including Colin Firth and Sir Paul McCartney. It also attracted the intervention of local MP Vince Cable, who wrote a series of stern letters to administrators reminding them of their obligations. Several potential purchasers of the studio operation were known to be circling, but were put off by the apparent determination to sell at a high price to developers.

Krasner told the Guardian: "The studios are now open for business and will see their centenary. Everyone should be happy."


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