Elstree Studios, the historic film complex that served as the filming location for iconic productions such as Star Wars and The Crown, is in dire need of at least £150m for necessary renovations, according to a council report. The report, issued by Hertsmere Borough Council, the owner of the studios, highlighted the urgent need for funds to replace “life-expired buildings” and address safety issues, including the presence of asbestos.
The council report revealed that some of the studio’s infrastructure is “at least 100 years old and past its useful life. It also noted that some walls were not expected to last more than 10 to 15 years. During asbestos remediation efforts, contractors discovered that the roofs over stages seven, eight, and nine were in a “dangerous state”.
Despite the evident need for investment, the council stated that it could not “afford to continually invest” in the Borehamwood film complex. This statement comes despite the fact that the council has already spent £22m on improvements since purchasing the studios from property firm Brent Walker in 1996. The site, which was in a “very dilapidated state” at the time of purchase, has since generated £28m for the public purse and currently has a market value between £40m and £100m.
The council report concluded that “both Elstree Studios and the council do not hold the necessary funds to finance further work streams. This statement underscores the financial challenges faced by the council and the studios in maintaining this historic site.
Despite these challenges, the Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, Jeremy Newmark, remains optimistic about the future of Elstree Studios. He stated, “Elstree Studios are thriving and the new Platinum Stages opened last summer are a great example of our commitment to the site and our continued investment.
Newmark also emphasized the importance of investing in and revitalizing older parts of the site to “open up further exciting opportunities for this valuable asset for the borough and its residents.” He praised the council’s swift and transparent response in tabling a set of proposals within seven weeks of the new administration taking office.
The future of Elstree Studios and the proposed investment plans will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. As the council and the studios grapple with these financial challenges, the fate of this historic film complex hangs in the balance.