Hertsmere consults on LDO for EastEnders set

A Hertfordshire council is consulting on a draft local development order (LDO) for the set of BBC soap opera EastEnders, which it claims is the first order of its kind to be used for a film and production facility.

Hertsmere Borough Council offices. Image by HBC
Hertsmere Borough Council offices. Image by HBC

The draft order by Hertsmere Borough Council would allow the BBC to undertake development without needing to apply for planning permission at a 2,072 square metre lot at the site in Elstree set in Borehamwood, subject to a number of conditions.

LDOs, first introduced in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, provide upfront planning permission for specified types of development in defined locations. They are intended to streamline the planning process by removing the need for developers to make separate planning applications within the site in question.

If approved by its full council, the order would extend permitted development rights and remove the need for planning applications to be made for certain types of development at the site, the council said. 

At the moment, studio chiefs have to apply to the council for minor changes to be made such as changes to shopfronts or landscaping changes, the authority said.

The order would apply to the "front lot" at the Elstree site, where permanent structures are being built to replace the existing set, made up from facades.

Planning permission for the construction of a permanent film and television stage was granted by the council in 2015.

According to the council, the LDO sets out parameters on the heights of buildings, the total landscaped area, and elevational changes and is linked to the original 2015 planning permission.

It states that the area covered by the set cannot be increased by more than 20 per cent.

The LDO would have a lifespan of 30 years, and the council would have the right to revoke it at any point.

The public consultation will run until 8 November, with a final version of the LDO set to be considered by full council in January 2020.

Dr Harvey Cohen, the council’s portfolio holder for planning said: "We’ve been working closely with the BBC on drafting a local development order, which will enable studio bosses to change and manage the front lot within a specified framework.

"This order should ensure that people living nearby are not affected by any developments, whilst also providing greater flexibility for scriptwriters and production teams.

"If it is approved, then this could be the first use of its kind for an LDO and is a tool that could be used by other film or TV production sites, in conjunction with planning departments and local communities."

According to the council, there are currently 130 LDOs in place across the UK, but they are typically used for commercial, business and residential developments. 

In June, multi-disciplinary consultancy Arup said LDOs could help speed up the delivery of modular homes.

Last year, South Holland District Council adopted an LDO covering specified types of development within a 17-hectare, food-centred enterprise zone.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs