Facility will house Sky Originals and Universal Studios Group shows across 12 sound stages

Sky Studios Elstree Entrance (c) Sky

Sky Studios is to open in Elstree after receiving planning approval from Hertsmere Borough Council.

Sky Studios Elstree will become home to Sky Originals as well as major film productions from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Working Title, and television series from Universal Studio Group. It will also have capacity to host productions from third-party producers.

The studio complex will have 12 sound stages, and these will be able to merge together and sub-divide to provide flexibility and scalability to suit the needs of different productions.

The biggest sound stages will be able to increase in size to 60,000 sq ft or reduce to much smaller segregated studios.

The total area of the site will cover the equivalent of 17 football pitches.

Work to clear the site ready for construction on the ‘state-of-the-art’ film and TV studio complex will begin this month and is due for completion by 2022.

The facility is a joint project between Sky, NBCUniversal and Legal & General, and aims to attract 2,000 jobs (900 during the construction phase and 1,500 once the studio is complete) and £3bn of production spend within the first five years of operation.

Sky is also aiming to make Sky Studios Elstree “the most sustainable film and TV production site in the world”. It will use reduced embodied carbon in the construction, and will generate 20% of its own energy through solar energy. No gas or fossil fuels will be used to power day-to-day operations and Sky will also harvest rainwater for use on site.

Single-use plastics will also be banned, and there will be green spaces and landscaping across the site.

Secretary of State for Culture and MP for Hertsmere, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, said: “Sky Studios Elstree will become home to the best-loved films and TV shows of the future, championing British creativity on the global stage. It will also bring investment, jobs and opportunities to people across Hertsmere - cementing Elstree & Borehamwood’s reputation as ‘The British Hollywood’.”

Cllr. Morris Bright MBE, leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, added: “We have a long and illustrious reputation for film and television production in our borough. This exciting development means the creative industries will continue to thrive in Hertsmere. Sky Studios Elstree’s huge production spend will provide a massive boost to the local economy such as retail and leisure sectors and professional services at the heart of our communities in Hertsmere. With the council-owned Elstree Studios, nearby BBC Elstree and now Sky Studios Elstree, this really does mean the return of the British Hollywood to our borough.”

Caroline Cooper, Chief Financial Officer, Sky Studios, said: “Alongside our colleagues at NBCUniversal and our partners at Legal & General, we will create a world-leading production studio that will turbocharge Sky Studios’ plans to create even more award-winning  Sky Originals for our customers.”

Nigel Wilson, CEO, Legal & General, said: “This is a critical investment for the UK’s bounce back. Landmark construction projects are rocket fuel for the economy and investing in our creative industries has never been more important.”

Helen Parker, EVP of Universal Pictures Content Group, NBCUniversal said: “After years of producing great content in London, NBCUniversal is excited to have Sky Studios Elstree, our own production destination for our film and television studios -  including Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Working Title, and Universal Studio Group - where we can fully embrace all that the flourishing UK creative industry offers.”

Meanwhile, nearby Elstree Studios welcomed the announcement about Sky Studios Elstree. Roger Morris, managing director of Elstree Studios, said: “This is a major coup for the UK Creative industries at this crucial time, with major infrastructure investment, incoming production investment and substantial job creation.”