Multi-million pound plans to expand Elstree Studios and provide an economic boost in Hertsmere have taken a major step forward.

Hertsmere Borough Council, owners of the Shenley Road studios, accepted a £2million loan towards the £4.5million project from the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Growing Places Fund.

The leading film and TV studios attract top feature films – such as Oscar winning The King’s Speech – but a lack of studio space has meant projects have been turned away.

The cash will be used to clear four acres of land at Elstree Studios, and construct new film and television production facilities.

The multi-million pound investment will be the largest the site has seen in 15 years, bringing in a further £.05million per year for the studios. The studios currently generate £1.1million in rental income for the council – the equivalent of 15 per cent of the council tax subsidized for every home in the borough.

Income from the studios will also help keep council tax charges low.

Council leader and chairman of the board of directors at the studios, Morris Bright, said: “Both the council and the studios are looking forward to moving ahead with this exciting project for the benefit of the media industry and residents of Hertsmere.

“Elstree Studios are a key part of our local economy and a source of great pride to residents.

“Despite the economic downturn, the studios remain busy around-the-clock, and from next year will also be providing a home for the BBC and some of its most popular shows for the next two and a half years while the BBC Studios at White City are being rebuilt.”

Roger Morris, managing director of the studios, said the expansion plans would help create more opportunities for the studios, securing its place at the heart of the film and television industry.