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UK approves expansion of Pinewood Studios, home to James Bond, Harry Potter and 'Star Wars'

LONDON - The British government has approved plans to double the size of Pinewood Studios, home to Harry Potter and James Bond.

The Department for Communities and Local Government granted planning permission Thursday for a 200 million-pound ($340 million) expansion of the movie-making complex near London.

Expansion was backed by politicians, the British Film Institute and film companies including Universal, Disney and Lucasfilm. A government report said building new sound stages, workshops and other facilities could create more than 3,000 jobs.

But some local residents in the commuter-belt area said expansion would strain transport and spoil greenbelt land. A previous proposal was turned down in 2012.

More than 1,500 films have been shot at Pinewood, including all eight "Harry Potter" adventures. "Star Wars: Episode VII" is currently in production there.

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