Walford could experience a building boom as the BBC announces plans to expand the EastEnders set and secure the show’s future in Borehamwood.
The broadcaster’s executive board has granted the soap opera permission to rebuild its 29 year old exterior set at the BBC’s Elstree Studios, increasing its capacity by 20 per cent.
The redeveloped site will be 9,000sq m, up from the existing 7,400 square metres and will feature new locations, streets and buildings, which the BBC says will guarantee the show's long-term future.
A BBC spokesman said the new set, which will include a completely refurbished Queen Vic, will allow for "greater editorial ambition and improve working conditions for staff."
If Hertsmere Borough Council grants planning permission, work could begin later this year and be completed by 2018.
In the meantime, a temporary set will be built to enable filming to continue, which could later be used for tours and educational visits.
Eastenders executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said: “This is a really exciting project and firmly demonstrates the BBC’s commitment to the future of EastEnders. The bigger and improved set will increase the potential for storylines, increase quality and meet the demands of future technology requirements.
“Crucially, it will provide a greater sense of scale with more locations for our characters to spend time in, opening up new areas and opportunities that haven’t been possible before – all of which are in the best interest of our viewers.”
Kate Harwood, head of drama England at BBC Drama Production, said: “I’m glad the BBC executive board has agreed that this project is crucial to investing in the future of EastEnders.
“The improvements and modernisation are vital to the growth and development of the show.
"As we approach the show’s 30th anniversary, this is a really exciting opportunity to underpin the future of one of the BBC’s most important programmes.”