The Scottish Government has taken a crucial step closer to saying whether Cumbernauld will be the base of Scotland’s national film studio.
After months of speculation and bland holding statements from Holyrood it has been announced that the “due diligence” period for a mystery film studio project has expired, and that further detailed negotiations are taking place.
Meanwhile culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the industry, reckoned to employ more people in Scotland than oil and gas, even before serious further development takes place.
Crucially, the studio project has to satisfy EU rulings on state aid, meaning it has to involve a substantial private enterprise input.
It was for this reason that an ambitious Glasgow plan was turned down, to the fury of city council leader Gordon Matheson and Glasgow-based supporters of a Film City project.
Now the plan consistently rumoured to be set for Cumbernauld is in the final stages of negotiation with Scottish Enterprise.
Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government are also involved in the Film Studio Delivery Group’s effort.
Cumbernauld has been repeatedly touted as the likely base for the new venture since January, with no other known contenders still in the field.
Meanwhile a private enterprise film studio complex in the Pentlands area of Edinburgh isn’t thought to pose a threat to the government-backed scheme.
The ongoing success of Outlander, and the strength of Cumbernauld’s location and infrastructure, are among the main factor’s in the town’s favour.
A recent visit by Los Angeles-based film executives to Cumbernauld’s existing studio base also helped to confirm its appeal.
The Scottish Government, under pressure to deliver a plan that will put Scotland’s nascent film industry on a firmer footing, says it will make an announcement on the
studio plan “as soon as feasibly possible”.