Studio-owner Hertsmere Borough Council has reached a settlement with Elstree Film and Television Studios (EF&TVS) allowing the council to start market testing at the beginning of next year.
The main point of contention is believed to have centred on how turnover related rent was calculated and whether EF&TVS owed the council back rent, a claim that the studios denied.
The settlement, to be signed by the beginning of next week, will draw a line under the dispute and will establish a new fixed rate of rent backdated to the beginning of this financial year.
More importantly it will allow the council to begin fully-fledged market testing to attract the substantial level of investment that it believes the studios need. A report carried out for the council in 2002 concluded that up to £26m in investment was required to safeguard the studios' long-term future.
Around eight companies or individuals are believed to have already filed interest in the studios. These notices of interest have been put on file until due process has been run in terms of market testing and transparency. The identity of the interested parties was not disclosed. EF&TVS's lease runs until the end of March 2007.
The studios currently has broadcast contracts with Who Wants to be a Millionaire , Celebrity Big Brother and the BBC's Dickens' drama B leak House , as well as feature films such as Miramax's Derailed.