Elstree gets £2m investment for £4.5m growth plan; will host a number of BBC’s “most popular shows” from 2013.

Elstree Studios owner Hertsmere Borough Council has accepted a £2m loan from the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growing Places Fund towards a £4.5m expansion project.

The money will be used to clear four acres of land at the studios and construct new film and TV production facilities.

The remaining £2.5 million for the project will be provided by the council from its reserves, with management hoping to begin work on the site early next year.  

As well as creating jobs for the local community, Elstree estimates the project will bring in at least a further £0.5 million per year for the studios.

Recent films to make use of Elstree include Comes a Bright Day and The King’s Speech, as well as TV shows including The Voice, Big Brother and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? but a lack of studio capacity has meant business has had to be turned away.

According to studio officials, Elstree is preparing for “an as yet unnamed major Hollywood feature” which will move in in January and a number of major TV shows, including ITV’s Dancing on Ice. Big Brother is also preparing its new season. 

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.

In its 80s heyday, the studios hosted films in the Star Wars, Indiana Jones and James Bond franchises.