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Game of Thrones: Green light for £14 million Belfast film studios

Planning approval has been granted to extend the Belfast studios where Game Of Thrones is filmed.

Permission to build was granted by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan and the development will nearly double the space at Titanic Studios.

Mr Durkan said it would put Belfast on the map as one of Europe's largest film production locations.

"It is my aim to ensure planning creates a better environment and a stronger economy. This development helps to do this."

Mr Durkan said two new studios and film production workshops had been approved.

The planning application to add another 100,000 sq ft of production space at the Titanic Studios was another clear indication of the city's growing reputation in the film industry.

Also known as the Paint Hall, the already huge building set in the heart of Belfast's docklands was once a climate controlled facility where ship parts were painted prior to assembly.

The 2007 movie City Of Ember was the first major production filmed in the converted studios and, two years later, US production company HBO arrived and has gone on to shoot four seasons of Games Of Thrones there, and at various outdoor locations across Northern Ireland.

The success of the series, combined with financial production incentives offered by government-backed agency Northern Ireland Screen, has prompted more and more filmmakers to choose the city as a location.

In reflection of this, Titanic Quarter Ltd - which is responsible for the wider regeneration of the docklands, has lodged a planning application for an additional two film studios, plus associated production workshops and facilities.

It will increase the current media complex to more than 250,000 sq ft.

In the last four years, Northern Ireland Screen has estimated its main production fund will return just over £120 million to the local economy on an investment of £27.8 million, with the total value of productions in this period predicted to be almost £294 million.

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