Sky – the owner of Sky News – has been given the green light to start building a new “state-of-the-art film and TV studio”, close to the famous Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire.
Known as the birthplace of Star Wars, some of the most iconic films in the world have been produced there, including Indiana Jones, Superman and – more recently – Paddington.
It is also home to some of Britain’s top TV shows, including EastEnders, The Crown and Strictly Come Dancing.
Sky Studios Elstree, which was given planning permission on Wednesday night by Hertsmere Borough Council, will provide “space for the ongoing boom in film and TV production in the UK”.
Sky Studios’s chief financial officer Caroline Cooper said the plan “will create a world-leading production studio that will turbocharge Sky Studios’s plans to create even more award-winning Sky Originals for our customers”.
She added that it would also “boost the local economy and celebrate the best of British and international creativity”.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is the MP for Hertsmere.
He said the development will “champion British creativity on the global stage”, and “bring investment, jobs and opportunities to people across Hertsmere – cementing Elstree & Borehamwood’s reputation as the British Hollywood”.
Morris Bright, leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, said that “for local people, it means not just jobs – potentially 2,000 roles being created – but a major injection of skills and expertise, which we hope to harness through educational and training opportunities”.
The studio will be built with the backing of Sky’s owner, Comcast, and in partnership with sister company NBCUniversal, and the total area of the site will cover the equivalent of 17 football pitches.
It will film Sky Originals, as well as productions from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Working Title, and TV shows from Universal Studio Group.
Over the first five years of operation, Sky Studios Elstree expects to generate up to an additional £3bn of production investment in the UK’s creative economy from Sky, NBCUniversal and other producers.
The final design includes 12 sound stages on the site, and it expects to have the capability to generate 20% of its own energy through solar power.
In 2006, Sky became the first carbon-neutral media company in the world and it expects that Sky Studios Elstree will become a key cornerstone of the company’s ambition to become net zero carbon within a decade.
It says no gas or fossil fuels will be used to power day-to-day operations, and it will harvest rainwater for use on site.
Sky also says it will not allow any single-use plastics in its operations, and has planned for how cast and crew will use the studio on a day-to-day basis, including green spaces and landscaping across the site.
Work to clear the site ready for construction will begin this month, with strict safety and social distancing rules.