Sky Studios denied Hertfordshire greenbelt expansion

TV company Sky cannot expand its studios into green belt land, councillors have ruled.

Hertsmere Borough Council's planning committee refused permission for an expansion of Sky Studios Elstree North in Hertfordshire.

A campaigner told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) the decision would "preserve the uniqueness" of Well End village.

Sky said it remained "committed" to expanding the studio site.

The site has previously hosted production teams working on Wicked, starring Ariana Grande, and Paddington in Peru.

Sky applied for permission for a 71,777 sq m (772,601 sq ft) extension to the north, between Rowley Lane and the A1 Barnet bypass.

Sky Studio Elstree
According to Sky, its new Borehamwood site will generate an additional £3bn of production investment in the UK creative sector over its first five years

The council refused permission for six votes to five at its meeting on Tuesday.

After the vote, Well End campaigner Julia Dunsford, said: "We've always said Sky is fantastic on its own, as long as it stayed there and we didn't want it to come any more, because it really starts to encroach on our lives.

"There are so many studios going up, a lot of new ones - Sunset in Waltham Cross, Warner Bros Studios Leavesden which is expanding, why does Sky need to go on the green belt?"

Sky argued the application met the "very special circumstances" bar for green belt building and that UK studios would create thousands of jobs.

Helen Green, Labour councillor for Bentley Heath and The Royds, said it was "wonderful" Sky had proposed to put in a big development.

"I do accept this involves building on green belt, which is always difficult," she said.

"But I like the idea of Sky learning from their past mistakes when they developed and really putting a lot of thought into what this development could be like for them and for us."

A Sky spokesperson told the LDRS it was disappointed that the committee contradicted officers' advice and refused planning consent.

"Before moving forward, we will be taking some time to assess our next steps and will engage further with the council, planning officers and community stakeholders," the spokesperson said.

"We remain committed to delivering our plans for Sky Studios Elstree North which will deliver significant local and national benefits, including creating 2,000 new jobs and unlocking £2bn of production investment in the UK."

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