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Work underway to shift 'the Mound' at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood
Work has begun on shifting a mound of rubble and earth that has limited the expansion of a world famous film studio.
Diggers are now out in force lifting fences and levelling the four-acre mound at the back of Elstree Studios in Borehamwood.
The £4.5 million project, which is being funded by the council and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, will increase its capacity by 25 per cent.
The project is expected to take around 26 weeks and has to be completed between series of Big Brother, as the site is situated next to the Big Brother house.
Managing director of the Shenley Road facility Roger Morris is delighted work has finally begun on the project.
He said: “We have had to turn away millions of pounds of business from production companies because we simply did not have the space to host them.
“Elstree Studios has re-established itself as one of the top four film and television studios in the UK, attracting work from across the film and television industry including many major Hollywood productions such as the upcoming Paddington Bear film starring Colin Firth and Hugh Bonneville.
“This new development at our site will allow the studios to take advantage of an expanding market.”
He said the cleared site could be used a purpose-built stage, a backlot containing permanent exterior buildings for outdoor scenes or workshops – determined by the needs of the studio and its clients and tenants.
Mr Morris added: “Once we have the extra space we want to attract the high end drama productions such as Game of Thrones that qualify for 25 per cent tax relief from the UK government if their budget exceeds £1m per hour of TV.
“This would provide a huge boost to the studio and cement its reputation for quality film and television.”
Chairman of the studios Councillor Morris Bright has been waiting 15 years to get 'the Mound' the rubble of 30 years of construction work as well as low levels of contaminants such as asbestos - shifted.
The leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, which owns the studios, said: “The work will be carried out so that 100 per cent of contaminants are removed from the site.
“The council has a duty of care to its residents so we cannot afford to take risks. The work will be completed to a very high standard.”
The studios brings in about £1.2m to the council in rental income, which helps keep council tax low.
Cllr Bright added: "We don't want to milk the cow dry, we want to invest in the studios so it keeps giving back to the town."
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