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Film-making boost for Hertfordshire due to new bill
3:30pm Monday 23rd September 2013 in News
A Parliamentary bill that will make it easier to film in Hertfordshire could become law by the end of the year.
Hertfordshire County Council, Elstree Studios and Hertsmere MP James Clappison are promoting a Parliamentary Private Bill to make it easier to close roads in the county for film and TV companies.
Currently, getting a road closure in Hertfordshire for filming can be a complex and lengthy process and in some cases is not possible at all because of legal constraints.
If passed, the bill will simplify this and help companies plan their filming schedules.
It would enable the council to close roads temporarily for filming and to issue permissions to place filming equipment on the highway for short periods.
The bill was sparked following problems closing a country lane in Hertfordshire for Hyde Park on Hudson, which meant filming at the site almost did not go ahead.
Hertsmere Borough Council leader, Councillor Morris Bright, who is also non executive chairman of Elstree Studios, said: “For small budget films with tight filming schedules it is not often easy to give the six to eight months notice needed for Hertfordshire County Council to close the roads.
“We went to the county council and managed to get it sorted for that film but it was a near miss.
“Elstree Studios lost a film, Red 2 starring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren, because of the road closures; they went to London instead where they have the law in place.
“There have been delays but we expect the bill to go through by the end of the year.”
The bill has cost £70,000 to fund, which has been contributed by studios and local authorities in Hertfordshire.
Mr Clappison is now working to take the bill through the House of Commons.
It has already had its first reading, and a second one is expected next month.
He said: “Film and television companies are excellent for the area and provides jobs and money. The bill will benefit the area by making life easier for them.”
Hertfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for enterprise, education and skills Cllr Chris Hayward said proper consideration would be given to the needs of residents and road users.
He said: “Hertfordshire is already a popular choice for film and television production and by making our area even more attractive to the media industry, it will provide a further and much needed boost to our local economies.”
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