Multi-million pound plans to expand Elstree Studios and provide an economic boost in Hertsmere have taken a major step forward.
Studios-owner Hertsmere Borough Council has accepted a £2 million loan towards the £4.5 million project from the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growing Places Fund.
Councillors voted unanimously to formally accept the offer, which was made by the LEP board earlier this year, at a full council meeting on Wednesday (14 November).
The money will be used to clear four acres of land at Elstree Studios and construct new film and television production facilities.
Elstree Studios are known as London’s leading film and TV studios, and attract many top feature films and television shows including Oscar winning film The King’s Speech and BBC talent show The Voice, but a lack of studio capacity has meant business has had to be turned away.
The remaining £2.5 million for the project will be provided by the council from its reserves. It is hoped that work will start on the site early next year.
Council leader and chairman of the board of directors at Elstree Studios, Morris Bright said: “I am delighted with the unanimous cross-party support given to this project by the council. This is the largest investment in the site in 15 years. Both the council and the studios are looking forward to moving ahead with this exciting project for the benefit of the media industry and the residents of Hertsmere.
“Elstree Studios are a key part of our local economy and a source of great pride to residents. Despite the economic downturn, the studios remain busy around-the-clock, and from next year will also be providing a home for the BBC and some of its most popular shows for the next two and a half years while the BBC Studios at White City are being rebuilt.”
Roger Morris, managing director of Elstree Studios, said: “This is excellent news both for Hertsmere and Hertfordshire. The additional production facilities will ensure that Elstree Studios remain one of the UK’s most popular studios for film and television production.
“These expansion plans will help to create even more amazing opportunities for the studios and secure its place at the heart of the film and television industry.”
As well as creating jobs for the local community, estimates are the project will bring in at least a further £0.5 million per year for the studios.
The studios currently generate £1.1 million in rental income for the council, the equivalent of 15% of the Council Tax subsidised for every home in the borough.
The income from the studios helps to pay for services important to residents and keep Council Tax charges low.