The construction of a film studio in South Wales was first proposed in 2001, with two developers, Fairfield Properties and Westair Properties backing the production of a 350-acre site in Llanilid near Bridgend. The Welsh Assembly government at first objected the plans, unhappy with proposals to link the studios to the M4 motorway by building a new junction to connect the site. Discussions in October 2002 between the Assembly and Rhondda Cynon Taf local council, Assembly member Pauline Jarman and the consortium behind the bid resolved the issues. Agreements were reached that any new access links to the M4 would only occur if a percentage of the development was completed and the construction of a theme park, which was part of a “Phase 2” of the plans. The initial proposals had an estimated budget of £350m, rising to a cost of £1bn after the completion of a screen academy and the theme park. Lord Attenborough, who was the chair of Dragon International Studios Limited, promised the studio would create 1,700 local jobs, with the local council believing a further 6,000 jobs would be created from a proposed adjacent development by the Villard Partnership, which planned to build hotels, a conference centre, health spa and a new hospital. Due to the collapse of heavy industry in South Wales over the previous decades, the development, itself built on the site of a former open-cast coal mine, was seen by those involved as a major economic boost to an area with high unemployment.