The public are being asked for their views on proposals which would enable set changes on Eastenders without the need for planning permission.

Hertsmere Borough Council is currently consulting on a draft local development order (LDO) that would cover part of BBC Elstree where the new set is being constructed.

If approved by its full council, the order would extend permitted development rights and eliminate the need for planning applications to be made for certain types of development at the site, which is in the centre of Borehamwood.

At the moment, studio chiefs have to apply to the council for, often, minor changes to be made, such as alterations to shopfronts, extension of roadways or landscaping changes.

The new EastEnders set, which involves permanent structures built with real materials rather than the facades used on the original lot, is being constructed on the former staff car park and due to come into use in 2021. Once completed, it will enable filming in high definition.

Councillor Dr Harvey Cohen, responsible for planning, said: "We enjoy a long and fruitful history of film-making and TV production in Elstree and Borehamwood and we want that association to continue well into the future.

"Obviously, at the same time our main concern is ensuring that production activities do not impact on the quality of the lives and surroundings of our residents who live nearby.

"We’ve been working closely with the BBC on drafting a Local Development Order, which will enable studio bosses to change and manage the front lot within a specified framework.

"This order should ensure that people living nearby are not affected by any developments, whilst also providing greater flexibility for scriptwriters and production teams.

"If it is approved, then this could be the first use of its kind for an LDO, and is a tool that could be used by other film or TV production sites, in conjunction with planning departments and local communities."

A public consultation will run until 8 November. Following this, a final version of the LDO is set to be considered by full council in January 2020.

If approved the LDO will be adopted in February and will remain in place for 30 years.

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