Barclays Bank has emerged as the lead funder of Dragon International Film Studios, the planned international studio complex in Wales being championed by Lord Attenborough.

The deal with Barclays is still subject to due diligence and a formal announcement of the bank's involvement is expected within a fortnight.

Dubbed 'Valleywood', the £140m studio is set to be built on the site of a former opencast mine just outside Cardiff.

The driving force behind the studio is Welsh born entrepreneur and chartered engineer Stuart Villard, whose business interests include property investment and development companies. He will act as CEO of Dragon International Studios and Leisure Ltd, the parent company of the studio project, which envisages building a £120m film theme park alongside the studios.

Occupying an area of 160 acres, Dragon envisages building seven sound stages with the largest measuring 30,000 sq ft. Lord Attenborough is chairman of Dragon International Studios.