In August 2021 an announcement was made by US firms Blackstone and Hudson Pacific that they were planning to build a large new film studio centre in Broxbourne, north London – about a mile from the OMA and OMA-X studios in Waltham Cross, which opened in 2020 and 2021. It is about 24 miles east of Leavesden and 17 miles from Borehamwood, where several existing and planned studios are located.
This will be a development by Sunset Studios, who are based in California. Movies such as La La Land and When Harry Met Sally were filmed on their stages but their history goes right back to the earliest days of Hollywood and TV shows like I Love Lucy. The site is next to the A10 at Junction 25 on the M25 and covers 91 acres. They are proposing a scheme with about 125,000 sq metres of production space including 21 sound stages plus workshops, offices and amenities. The stages are of various sizes and mostly arranged in blocks of two or three. The total floor area for the stages is around 470,000 sq ft – an average of 22,400 sq ft but some are much larger than this. There will also be a back lot of around 30,000 sq metres.
The facilities will be arranged in ‘hubs’, enabling 4 films or high-end TV productions to be made at the same time. Two large car parks are included but the studios will also run free shuttle buses to local railway stations. Cycling to the studios will also be encouraged. A large area of accessible open space to the south of the studios will be made available and the area next to the river will also be landscaped. Existing farm buildings will be restored and become part of the studios’ facilities. Solar panels will be installed throughout the site. The development is expected to provide around 4,800 jobs once fully up and running.
The construction will cost £700m and has the support of the government and the local authority, who have been consulted throughout the design process. Consultation with the local community began in the autumn of 2021. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Planning permission was submitted in March 2022. It is likely to be passed but due to the considerable size of the project, the first stages will probably not be available before 2024 with construction being completed in 2025.