Dacorum Borough Council made £100k from filming in six months

Much of the filming in Dacorum has taken place in Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 2:44 pm

Film crews have become a common sight in Hemel Hempstead this year, and now it’s been revealed how the borough has benefitted from stars descending on the town.

In 2021 alone, new projects from Hollywood stars Danny Boyle, Ricky Gervais, and Steven Spielberg have all been filmed in the town.

So far this year, locals have seen Marlowes transformed into 1970s Huddersfield for a Sex Pistols biopic, a funfair appear in Gadebridge Park for After Life and a 1940s high street to the Old Town for Masters of the Air.

Danny Boyle and his production company, Minim UK Productions Ltd, filmed in Bank Court and Market Square (C) Dan Stobbs

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A Freedom of Information request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service has found that it’s by far the biggest year in recent history for filming in the borough.

Between the start of the financial year on April and October, £99,500 was brought in from filming charges on council owned or managed land across the borough.

How much money has been raised from filming in Dacorum in the last five years?

> 2021/22 (to October 15) – £99,500

> 2020/21 – £18,995

> 2019/20 – £23,557

> 2018/19 – £64,660

> 2017/18 – £22,984.

While the council said they could not reveal a breakdown for each project for commercial reasons, they confirmed that Grantchester, After Life, Masters of the Air and Ladhood had collectively generated £71,765 in 2021/22.

Much of the filming in Dacorum has taken place in Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town, which has raised £82,695 of the total income between April and October.

Hemel Hempstead has benefitted from its location near to London, as well as Leavesden and Elstree studios, which allows crews to use the town as a location without needing to completely relocate.

It has also benefited from the growth of Bovingdon Airfield as a filming location, although the council confirmed they do not receive any income from filming on the private site.

Dacorum is a Filming Positive Council

Following the success of filming in the area, the council has now employed an officer responsible to facilitate projects in the borough.

A Dacorum Borough Council spokesperson said: “We previously responded to filming requests on an ad hoc basis with no single point of contact and no consistency for enquiries. We may not have created the best experience for all and we want to demonstrate that Dacorum is a Filming Positive Council.

“Due to both this recent increase in demand from production companies and us having a responsive officer on the ground, the decision was made to introduce a filming officer role to co-ordinate enquiries and facilitate the filming enquiries and activities. The revenue generated by filming in the Borough will fund this post."

The spokesperson added: “There are a range of benefits for the Borough in supporting filming such as:-

“Economic Benefits from increasing the focus and positivity around this sector, can deliver parts of the economic recovery strategy through great potential for supporting skills development for the future needs of the sector.

"Encouraging the use of local locations and using local businesses and services will bring economic benefit to the area.

"Positive management of locations and skills database will also ensure that more benefits can be achieved for wider benefit to the community and businesses.

“Total economic value resulting from the sector is also not currently recorded e.g. income from local facilities used, local jobs/businesses used.

“Total income to the council is not measured and could be maximised. Some filming can also take place without any awareness by the council.

“Softer benefits such as to the profile of the area are also not recorded or measured although this is also difficult to measure – such as tourism generated by visitors to film areas and reputational benefits.”

The council added that the filming officer was working closely with Old Town residents and business owners to minimise disruption – including the loss of parking spaces and closure of roads.

They added that protocols were being developed to ensure that local concerns are taken on board during filming.

The spokesperson said: “In recent months, there have been many productions in the Old Town due to the heritage and tourism attraction of the area.

"The filming officer has been working closely with the residents and businesses of the Old Town in recent months to coordinate these activities and is currently developing filming protocols moving forward.

“Having one point of contact to manage these relationships will ensure that residents and businesses can be better informed going forward.”