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27 October, 2020 - 16:04 By Tony Quested

Elstree Studios expansion to create 800 new jobs

Plans to expand the Hollywood of Hertfordshire – Elstree Studios – have been bolstered by a multimillion pound investment.

Known as the birthplace of Star Wars, some of the most famous films in the world have been produced at Elstree – the Indiana Jones and Star Wars trilogies, Superman, The Shining and Labyrinth to name just a few from a huge and impressive list.

The new funding cements Hertfordshire’s place in the UK film industry; Elstree’s expansion will be part-funded by a £6m Getting Building Fund investment from Hertfordshire LEP to support the growth of the county's film and TV sector.

The scheme to build two new sound stages and ancillary workshops on the site of the former Big Brother set can officially proceed after the cash pledge was secured by studio owners Hertsmere Borough Council.

The deal means the borough is in line for a post-lockdown jobs boost, with the creation of at least 800 jobs, 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 profits over the project's life.

Mark Bretton, chair of Hertfordshire LEP and the LEP Network, said: “It is vital that we continue to invest in the development of our key growth sectors to help strengthen Hertfordshire’s economic fundamentals and give residents greater opportunities for high quality employment locally.

“Our £16.8m Getting Building Fund allocation will back five major projects to boost Hertfordshire’s high value sector clusters including film and TV, life sciences and smart construction; unlock 12,100 sq m of commercial space and bring forth up to 1,500 new jobs to support local economic recovery.

“The creative sector has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and film production is key to the livelihood of a vast network of businesses. Our investment towards the expansion of Elstree Studios is a huge vote of confidence in Hertfordshire’s growing creative cluster and will provide a boost to the studio, as well as to the wider network that relies on its success.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall said: “Creative industries play an important role in the success of local economies. That is why I am delighted that plans have been approved for the expansion of Elstree Studios.

“Our £6m investment, through the Getting Building Fund, will help to create at least 800 jobs and 100 apprenticeship opportunities, with a proportion of the income and profits to be reinvested into levelling up the local creative sector.”

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