in phases from 2024 – 2025
A proposal for a significantly large film studio development was released to the press at the end of March 2021. Bidwells submitted these discussion plans to Hertsmere Borough Council, along with the full support of the Department for International Trade and the British Film Commission.
They noted that in 2018 a report by Lambert Smith Hampton stated an industry requirement for 1.9m sq ft of film/high-end TV studio space in the UK. The new developments at Pinewood, Shepperton, Dagenham, Shinfield and Sky/Universal Borehamwood still leave the UK short of sound stages. This new studio site would be located just to the north of the new Sky/Universal studios. They are also proposing a large back lot on the other side of Rowley Lane. The Hertswood plans were submitted to the council on behalf of Gilston Investments Ltd, owners of the Wrotham Park Estate near Potters Bar, as part of Hertsmere’s ‘Call for Employment Sites’ launched by the borough’s planning team.
The plans were consulted on and developed during 2021 and a planning application will be made in 2022. Construction will commence in 2023 with the site opening in phases up to 2025 so the earliest any stages are likely to be available is 2024. These studios will offer over 1 million sq ft of stages, workshops and offices. An hotel and a training academy are also proposed. There will be 21 sound stages – two at 40,000 sq ft, three at 30,000 sq ft and sixteen at 20,000 sq ft.
In September 2021 these proposed new film studios were included in Hertsmere Borough Council’s Media Quarter in their draft local plan, which was an encouraging sign that they will be given the go-ahead.
This is a very ambitious scheme but is to be welcomed if the UK is to fully maximise the country’s potential for creating world class films and television drama.