A "Film Studio of the North" could be built in West Yorkshire as a way of boosting the region's economy.

The idea has been proposed by new West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin, who said she has already had meetings with the British Film Institute about the plans.

Mrs Brabin, a former actress, addressed her first annual Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership yesterday, and mentioned the plans to members.

The partnership is made up of business leaders across West Yorkshire.

During the discussion, the partnership raised a number of issues, about the local economy, and Mrs Brabin said businesses in the region are struggling to expand due to a lack of skilled applicants.

Ms Brabin, who was elected as the region’s first metro mayor last month, reiterated her manifesto pledges of 1,000 more jobs for young people and to work to bring investment into the region from elsewhere in the UK and abroad.

She claimed a priority was to help up-skill those living in the region, adding: “Listening to businesses, I’m hearing the biggest problem is around skills. You want to expand and bring on more staff, but it is about finding the people with the talent.

“We need to meet the carbon emissions target for 2038. It gives us opportunities in the green sector and re-industrialise those heartlands.” 

The Railway Children Return scenes filmed in Saltaire today

According to West Yorkshire Combined Authority, a body made up of the five West Yorkshire Councils, the region suffers from skill shortages for “technical roles at professional, skilled trades and technician levels”, which “constrains firm-level productivity and the performance of the wider economy”.

Ms Brabin also reiterated how she wanted to help create a film studio in the region, adding: “One of those suggestions (for boosting the creative economy) is for a film studio for the North, and identifying where we will find that funding. I’ve lots of plans for young people around digital skills."

At a Mayoral hustings event back in April, she said talks were already underway to look into the possibility of making Yorkshire a major screen destination.

“I have already had meetings with the BFI (British Film Institute), and others, to talk about identifying a place where we can put National Film studio of the north,” she said. “We know the power of film, to regenerate communities, and bring jobs and skills. It can be done.

“It has been so frustrating that the Chancellor has seemingly a deaf ear to the creative industries, when, if you have their phone numbers, it seems much easier to get contracts and so on.”

Such a studio would be a huge boost for Bradford - which has been used for numerous film and television shoots in recent years.

Little Germany - which includes some of the country's best preserved Victorian streets, and Saltaire are popular with film studios.

Bradford is also a UNESCO City of Film.