PitStop Productions video game sound recording studio comes to Barnsley – after Sony backing

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Pitstop Productions, a world-leading Barnsley-based company that supplies sound recordings for the video game industry, yesterday (February 15) received permission to build a two-storey recording studio on greenbelt land in off Windhill Lane, Staincross.

According to plans, the program could create an additional 15 new jobs within a year and 50 jobs over the next five years.

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Plans revealed for a new video game sound production studio in Barnsley that could…

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Pitstop Productions yesterday (February 15) won permission to build a two-storey recording studio on greenbelt land off Windhill Lane, Staincross.

The building would include a recording room, seven mixing rooms, a recording room, meeting and storage rooms as well as toilets, showers and kitchens, and 11 parking spaces.

The program was postponed to the January meeting of the council’s planning council, as more information was requested from the applicant.

John Sanderson, founder and managing director of PitStop Productions, made an impassioned appeal to the council’s planning board to authorize the project.

Pitstop Productions yesterday (February 15) won permission to build a two-storey recording studio on greenbelt land off Windhill Lane, Staincross.

Mr Sanderson told advisers: “At the previous meeting it was said that allowing this development…would set a dangerous precedent.

“This is not a dangerous precedent. This development represents everything your council is trying to achieve.

“It’s a precedent of a better future, it’s a precedent of how a small business with genuine good business intentions can invest in Barnsley.

“This is indeed a very special circumstance that requires your full attention and understanding.

“This building will not create the noise you think it will. I can say on my heart that the loudest thing you will hear is the sound of the garbage truck.

“The system being created allows these companies to record sound externally and then let it go directly to in-house studios.

“What is recorded outdoors will be instantly heard in the studio, it will go straight into the game. This has never been done anywhere in the world.

“Professionally, this has never been done before. It is a unique world first.

Nearly 50 objections were filed by residents, citing loss of green belt, loss of privacy, highway and traffic issues, and biodiversity concerns.

Two residents spoke up at the meeting to oppose the plans, citing noise from external sound creation and loss of greenbelt land.

A resident told the planning council that the greenbelt land is ‘very valuable’, adding: ‘The outdoor space is controversial because without it this building could sit anywhere including a wasteland industrial.

“Examples of sounds to create include the hammering of metal and wood, and the smashing of glass and ceramics. All of this can certainly be done indoors.

‘He mentions that the building acts as a shield, which may be the case for those who live directly opposite, but what about those who live on Warren Lane, whose gardens overlook the back of the property?

“Outdoor space is not necessary. The company must already have an extensive library of sounds.

Another resident told the planning committee that granting permission would set a “dangerous precedent” which would lead to wider development of the district’s green belt.

They said: “Some neighbors are retired and love being in their gardens. Our gardens will be dominated by a building monstrosity.

“If this build goes ahead, I can honestly say that I will have lost all faith in our advice.”

Matt Woodward, head of planning at BMBC, said letters of support for the studio have been received from Sony and other game makers who have previously worked with PitStop Productions.

He added that the gaming industry had grown by around 8% per year and the lockdown had led to growth of 20%.

Councilor David Greenhough added: ‘These kinds of jobs at Barnsley… are definitely what we need.

“We are crying out for high-level jobs. We cannot continue to build warehouses.

“We want our kids to grow up in industries like this and have successful careers.”

Joe Jenkinson, head of planning at Barnsley Council, said the fact that his site was in the green belt had “substantial weight, in the decision, but the studio’s unique offer amounted to ‘very special circumstances’.

“The crux of this question is whether the case presented fits very particular circumstances,” Jenkinson added.

“I’m much more reassured, having heard what I’ve heard and read what I’ve read, that this really amounts to very special circumstances, this will be a unique installation.”

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