Hertswood Studios, Borehamwood

Planning application not yet submitted.

 

A proposal for a 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 is 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 was due to be made in 2022 but sadly I can find no news on that.  Construction was to commence in 2023 if permission was granted.  According to the Bidwells website, it will take two and a half years to complete.  The 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 would be given the go-ahead.

This is a very ambitious scheme and is to be welcomed if the UK is to fully maximise the country’s potential for creating world class films and television drama.

 

As of March 2024 I can find no information on how this scheme is progressing.  I cannot find a planning application on the Hertsmere Council website.  My guess is that they have been waiting to see how the application for Sky Studios Elstree North proceeded.  In May 2024 that project was refused permission on Green Belt grounds.  The Sky scheme may yet happen, following further consultation or an appeal, but it does seem very unlikely that this much larger project would be welcomed.  I think we may assume that these studios are unlikely to be built.

 

hertswood aerial 450p
How the studios might look upon completion. Some of the fields to the top left may become a back lot.
hertswood area map 450p
the Hertswood Studios site is outlined in red.  The area coloured orange at the bottom is where the Sky/Universal studios are being built.  The yellow area between them is a owned by Legal and General. It is likely to be used as a back lot for the Sky/Universal Studios but in April 2021 it was revealed that yet more stages could be built here.  L&G put forward this 15 hectares site for consideration under Hertsmere Borough Council’s ‘Call for Employment Sites’ 2021 appeal.  It is undeveloped open land that was previously earmarked for a centre of sporting excellence.  That planning permission was not implemented and has now expired.