Hollywood comes to Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 18:00 27 March 2015

St Albans signs new film friendly charter. Pictured, from left, are: Cllr Morris Bright (Hertsmere), Cllr Howard Burrell (Stevenage), Hayley Armstrong (Creative England), Cllr Mark Mills-Bishop (Broxbourne), Cllr Chris Hayward (Herts), Cllr Beric Read (SADC) and Cllr Lynda Needham (NHDC)

St Albans signs new film friendly charter. Pictured, from left, are: Cllr Morris Bright (Hertsmere), Cllr Howard Burrell (Stevenage), Hayley Armstrong (Creative England), Cllr Mark Mills-Bishop (Broxbourne), Cllr Chris Hayward (Herts), Cllr Beric Read (SADC) and Cllr Lynda Needham (NHDC)

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St Albans may just be a dormitory town to some, but there are hopes its unique setting will continue to attract more Hollywood stars - and big budgets - with the signing of a new film charter.

Representatives of 10 district and borough councils, including St Albans, recently joined Herts county council to sign a film friendly charter with Creative England.

This document aims to build on the county’s reputation as a first-class filming destination for producers and directors from across the globe, bringing further investment, income from screen tourism and additional jobs to the county.

Cllr Beric Read, the district’s portfolio holder for community engagement, said: “St Albans offers film companies stunning scenery, historic buildings and proximity to film studios at Leavesden and Elstree.

“The council is keen to encourage film and television companies to come here to film as this will bring investment in the local economy.

“Signing this charter represents our committment to supporting film and television companies filming in the district and across Herts.”

Hayley Armstrong, production liaison manager at Creative England, said: “Just last year we supported 79 productions to film on location in Herts including 19 feature films.”

She said it was easy to see why Herts offers an attractive location for filmmakers, because the county boasts a wide range of settings from historic rural estates like Ashridge, seen in Harry Potter, Les Miserables and Stardust, to St Albans Cathedral, where filming for Johnny English, Incendiary and First Knight took place.

Apart from providing the backdrop of various television dramas and children’s shows, St Albans has also hosted the filming of other movies - and big names - including Nicole Kidman in Birthday Girl.

Hayley added: “Filming makes a significant contribution to Herts’ local economy. By signing the charter, the county is giving a clear signal to the industry that the area is film-friendly.”

Cllr Chris Hayward, the county council’s cabinet member for enterprise, said: “Last year we promoted our Filming on the Highways Act through Parliament, giving the council new powers to close roads for filming purposes, which has added to Herts’ reputation as a convenient and appealing location to film.”

The highest grossing film of 2014, Paddington, was filmed in this county.

Jonah Coombes, location manager for the movie, said: “I really relished the opportunity to bring location and studio filming of Paddington to Herts because there is always such a collaborative, open-minded and can-do approach.”

• Your property could be what filmmakers are looking for, be it a cottage or stately home. If it could accommodate filming, you can register it on Creative England’s free database. Alternatively, if you have a business that could offer a service to a film or TV production company, for example construction, catering, dry cleaning or even dog handling, you can add your company to the service’s list of Herts’ facilities.

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