SHEPPERTON studios is continuing to build Japanese-style buildings on an external film set, despite an application seeking permission for the work being deferred at a council planning meeting.
Executives at the studios, in Studios Road, have begun construction on the Backlot site, rumoured to be for Keanu Reeves' new film 47 Ronin, even though the development has not yet been formally approved by councillors.
Richard Smith-Ainsley, ward councillor for Laleham and Shepperton Green, said: "The original recommendation before the committee was to refuse the application, and amongst other issues to serve an enforcement notice to require that a part of the site being used as an external film set must be reinstated to its previous conditions."
The planning application was recommended for refusal by Spelthorne councillors at the meeting last Wednesday, but it was deferred to be considered at a later date after a request by Shepperton Studios.
Councillor Smith-Ainsley said: "An important consideration for not accepting the studios' request to defer the application was that the archaeological works that they were mandated to carry out before any development had begun were not carried out. The county council archaeologist produced a late letter stating that he considered that any damage that would be done had already been done, so this reduced the significance of the main reason for not deferring the application. We expect the studios to resubmit their application soon and the planning committee will then determine it."
Andrew Smith, director of Shepperton Studios, said: "We have been working with the council and statutory consultees in relation to the technical matters, including archaeology, ecology, transport and flooding since the submission of the application for temporary use of the Shepperton Studios Backlot and an adjacent site to the north west, for the construction of film sets and workshops for a temporary period of seven months, to meet the needs of a specific film production.
"In order to fully address these issues we asked for a deferment, which was granted."