Scottish farmer refuses to make way for landmark £250million film studio

Auslan Cramb
An artist's impression of Pentland Studios

A Scottish tenant farmer whose family has worked rolling farmland outside Edinburgh for more than 100 years is refusing to make way for a landmark £250million film studio.

Jim Telfer, 82, said he and his daughter Mary Begbie, 52, were ready to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to thwart any bid to build on their rented 60-acre plot.

Ministers have approved in principle a plan to build Scotland’s first film studio on the land in a bid to attract Hollywood stars to the country, but Mr Telfer is refusing to make way for the development.

I’m not moving. No, no, no. There are other places to go for the film studio

Jim Telfer

Nick Gibsone, an advertising executive who owns the land, wants the Telfers to leave the farm so that he can turn over his own property to the Hollywood studio development.

But the two sides have been locked in stalemate for almost a year. Sources told The Guardian that any move to evict the family would have to be approved by the Scottish land court, which can rule over disputes between tenant farmers and landlords.

Mr Telfer said : “I’m not moving. No, no, no. There are other places to go for the film studio.”

His daughter, who lives on the farm with her mother, father and her daughter Nicolle, added: “At the end of the day money doesn’t mean anything to dad. He’d rather keep on farming and keep the farm for the community.

“To lose it would be devastating, hugely to ourselves but to the community – and for something that could be built elsewhere.”

The farmhouse was first occupied by Mr Telfer’s grandfather in 1915. The family own the farmhouse and buildings, but not own the land, which belongs to the Gibsone family.

Mr Gibsone said in a statement: “This has been a difficult period for all concerned but we maintain we have acted in good faith and tried our best to reach a compromise that can work for everyone concerned.

“We are not a wealthy family and it is now a necessity that we sell the site which we own. A proposal has been made that would allow the tenants, Mr and Mrs Telfer, to remain in the farmhouse, with some alternative land to farm plus substantial compensation.”

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