Sound Stages for Film Studios at Elstree.

Sound Stages for Film Studios at Elstree

Major Projects

In response to the increased industry demand for state of the art Sound Stages, the proposal consist of a twin soundstage building, carefully designed to meet international space standards in studio design and ensure the long term viability of this employment site. The bespoke twin Sound Stages will be located in the place of the existing studio and production areas of the “Big Brother House” TV series, at the north part of the site. The remaining site will accommodate deliveries and short term parking of mobile units, ancillary to the operation of the Sound Stages.

The proposed new Sound Stages will be approximately 20.3m in height and have a footprint of approximately 3360 sqm.

The application includes for a partial demolition of old, existing pitched roof, unheated and uninsulated section of the terrace of existing workshops and their replacement by pitched new roof workshops that will provide a satisfactory workplace environment. Cladding colour will match that of the adjoining workshops. Ancillary accommodation will be provided in the first-floor attic space. These workshops will service the new Sound Stages.

Discussions concerning an appropriate façade treatment have taken place over a number of months and have concluded with the exchange of emails with the Case Officer on 20th December 2020 in which she advised that the revised proposal for patinated copper wall cladding over a lower band of Corten steel had been discussed with the Head of Planning and is considered a significant improvement to the previous proposal. The application has now been amended to reflect this design proposal.

The wall cladding to the stages comprises a low level three-metre wide band of Corten weathering steel around the base of the building with copper faced composite cladding above this.

Corten weathering steel is chemically rusted in a factory environment to closely control colour, texture and adhesion levels. The rusted layer so formed will have significantly less surface run off of newly formed rust. Grease, water streaks and bird foul will not discolour the patina as it forms. Following the chemical rusting process the panel is scrubbed to remove poorly adhered oxide on the surface.

The composite copper cladding is a rigid flat panel that has high levels of fire, acoustic and thermal performance and its core material will be fire resisting.

The Planning Permission

Paragraph 80 of the NPPF 2019 states that planning decisions should help create the conditions in which businesses can invest, expand and adapt. Significant weight was placed on the need to support economic growth and productivity, taking into account both local business needs and wider opportunities for development. The decision to grant Full Planning Permission recognised and addressed the specific locational requirements of the film industry sector, including making provision for a cluster or network of creative industries at a variety of scales and in this suitably accessible locations.

The overarching principle of sustainable development is established by this development in its effective use of brownfield land

Hertsmere’s statutory development framework highlights the importance of the film and television industry within the borough. Policy CS11 of the Core Strategy (2013) states that proposals to develop, refurbish and upgrade film and television studios will be supported subject to environmental constraints and other relevant policies. Furthermore, policy CS8 contends that the Council will support development proposals in appropriate locations, which attract commercial investment, maintain economic competitiveness and provide employment opportunities for the local community.

The proposals allow a currently under-used part of the Elstree Film Studios to operate effectively and to provide modern high-quality production facilities, in order to compete with other film studios offering similar facilities in the UK. It will support the development of the film and television industry in Borehamwood.