Hertsmere’s reputation as the ‘British Hollywood’ has been further cemented as plans for the expansion of Elstree Studios have been given the final green light.
The scheme to build two new soundstages and ancillary workshops on the site of the former Big Brother house can officially proceed after a £6 million government funding deal was successfully secured by studio owners, Hertsmere Borough Council.
The deal, approved by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Herts LEP) on behalf of the government, means the borough is in line for a post-lockdown jobs boost, with the creation of at least 800 new jobs, once the stages are operational, plus apprenticeship opportunities for local school leavers and the unemployed.
A further £6 million of funding from council coffers for the project was approved in August.
As part of the deal, it has been agreed that £100,000 per year from the rental income received by the council will be invested locally into creative industries, including local media and creative enterprise and initiatives, equivalent to 30 per cent of the project’s profits over the project’s life.
Councillor Morris Bright MBE, leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, said: “Elstree Studios has been the beating heart of our borough for nearly 100 years. Alongside the council’s own funding commitment, this agreement with Herts LEP, means we have secured the future of the studios for generations to come.
“Not only is the ongoing vitality of the studios secured, this deal represents a huge opportunity for our residents, businesses and the UK creative sector.
“The creation of two new soundstages and ancillary workshops will result in at least 800 new jobs, plus 100 new learner and apprenticeship opportunities, at a time when many local people are facing uncertain or bleak employment prospects because of the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It also means that income received by the council from the studios can continue to be used to fund vital day-to-day services, such as parks, waste and recycling collection, community grants and street cleaning.
“While Hertsmere and the country as a whole faces unprecedented economic and social challenges, this project and the construction of the multi-million pound Sky Studios Elstree facility down the road, is a ray of light for us all.”