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Lewes High Street shut again 4th Aug for Filming

 
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On 30 Jul 2012 at 11:27am Scary Portas wrote:
I just saw signs dictating they are shutting the High St on Sat 4th August 3-5pm for filming.
I dont know whether to laugh or cry, but apparently from a traffic warden source, BT have paid a measly £400 to shut the High Street on a busy Saturday. I can imagine the impact on local shops will be nearer £400 each for this, as this is a very busy time for local shops at top of the town.
Who makes these decisions and why is there no consultation with local businesses -surely they dont delude themselves that this will bring more people to shop in Lewes (because the flipping road is likely to be shut when they get here)
This decision stinks.
Lewes Town Centre - for hire at expense of the very people and businesses that need it most. Right, must go and cry into my Harveys.
How can we stop this happening so frequently, why couldnt they film on a Sunday.............................
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On 30 Jul 2012 at 11:58am the old mayor wrote:
Is this true ? and if so, doesn't it leave you speechless !!! Still Lewes has the shops it deserves and there will be even less of them soon !! Go on line - save the Post Office !!
 
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On 30 Jul 2012 at 12:58pm Southover Queen wrote:
Yes, I think it's staggering if it's true. Quite apart from anything else, the location and admin fee that should have been charged for doing this is a small fraction of what I'd have expected. It should have cost BT several thousand pounds to close the road for two hours - presumably it's a multinational company making a marketing or advertising feature of some kind with a budget to match. I would also have expected them to be told that they would have to do this on a quiet day or outside of business hours.
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On 30 Jul 2012 at 1:29pm Prof wrote:
This is what you do.
1. Get a car.
2. Park it where they want to film just before the road is shut off.
3. Stay in the car and lock the doors.
4. Watch the ensuing fun.
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On 30 Jul 2012 at 1:41pm nosa renda wrote:
Better still people with large vans...
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On 30 Jul 2012 at 1:59pm Bob a job wrote:
There will be stop and go boards at the junction of the High Street & Fisher Street. See the link

Check it out here »
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On 30 Jul 2012 at 3:55pm Sussex Jim wrote:
On Aug.4 it will be light about 5.00 They can film from 5.00 to,say 8.00
Or can the prima donnas involved not get up that early?
Let's all go there and wander around the streets at that time. A reason? We could celebrate the late Queen Mother's birthday.
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On 30 Jul 2012 at 5:06pm Peasant wrote:
I like it! A Peasants' revolt.
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On 30 Jul 2012 at 7:29pm Morrigan wrote:
When I first saw the headline to this section, I thought it said Lewes High Street SLUT again for filming. A far more interesting propositiion.
 
 
On 30 Jul 2012 at 10:14pm Buzby wrote:
Make someone happy
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On 31 Jul 2012 at 8:50am christian hopper wrote:
Yes, this is scandalous. Who do I complain to? Recent road closures do cost businesses money, and Saturday PM is peak trading for my florist business. This will cost me at least £300 in trading, perhaps more.
Anybody who believes that this will bring more trading to Lewes is deluded -the advert for whomever will not say 'come to Lewes', indeed it probably will not be recognisable to most and therefore wont bring Lewes any more business.
People in power are sorely out of touch with the needs of both local business community and their customers, who are fed up with the arbitrary nature of these closures and lack of consultation.
Is is too inconvenient for those filming to do so 6-9am or on a Sunday.
And people wonder why so many shops shut and customers go elsewhere to where they feel welcomed.
Disgusted, of 85 High St Lewes.
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On 31 Jul 2012 at 3:14pm Mystic Mog wrote:
The UK is not known for being great for film locations even if the film is supposed to be in the UK. Often non UK locations are used because the UK fees are high,excessive red tape and restrictions, angry residents etc. The UK film industry employs many people (not just luvvies and stars) and is a great exporter. In the long run this filming could be a benefit to Lewes. Lewes shops in the film. Try and think of the bigger picture (sic). Who knows you may be on telly!!
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On 31 Jul 2012 at 5:52pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
While some places do well from being used in films (Lyme Regis and the French Lieutenant's Woman springs to mind), I hardly think that being the background of a BT ad is likely to benefit the town much.
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 12:46pm Geoff wrote:
GET A LIFE!!
Does it really matter that much? A whole two hours! wow.......Is there not more important things going on?
Really.... a bit of filming in a nice pretty high street. No wonder it was chosen.
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 1:00pm Rose Wait wrote:
They have got a life Geoff, or more accurately in this case, a living. If they have a business in the High Street that is going to be deprived of customers, they have every right to be upset.
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 2:06pm Carl Fairall wrote:
Hello All.
My name is Carl Fairall. I am one of the Location Managers working on the TV commercial shooting on Lewes High Street this coming Saturday. Even though I've consulted with Town, District and County Councils, The Highways Agency, Lewes Chamber of Commerce and the Police; its clear that this has not been enough. The 'buck' should stop with me unfortunately, so I apologise.
I thought it might be a good idea to put a post on here, in part to make you aware of my contact details and also to outline what it is we will be doing.
East Sussex County Council have granted us a Traffic Management Order, with a view to replacing the traffic lights at each end of Lewes High Street (Westgate St & Station St) with 'Stop & Go' signs. This is so we can film in the High Street safely for periods of up to 2 minutes at a time. To be clear, we are not shutting the High Street.
Whilst we are filming on the High Street we will have marshals present asking pedestrians if they would wait on the pavement so they are not in shot. Obviously, we can only ask for peoples cooperation. There will be a number of qualified personnel on site in addition to a Police presence, so if any member of the public has an issue, it can be dealt with directly.
With regards to the parking suspensions, we will be parking our technical vehicles at the east end of the High Street. We will be keeping the number of vehicles there to an absolute minimum. As we are filming on a High Street, it is important that we have control of the road traffic so as crew and the public are kept safe.
I would anticipate that we will be finished by 9pm.
Again, I'm sorry that this has come out of the blue to some of you. Feel free to contact me on the details provided below. I may not be able to respond immediately but will do as soon as possible. I have a fairly full day in Lewes tomorrow, but can make time to meet with any of you if need be.
Best wishes,
Carl Fairall
07968 778134
carl.fairall@gmail.com
 
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 2:17pm Southover Queen wrote:
Yes, it does matter Geoff. Firstly because, unless there's a very good reason indeed for BT having to film on a Saturday afternoon, it's crass timing. And secondly because if the fee quoted for closing the road is indeed £400 it's ridiculously cheap - they should have been charged at least £2000 for three hours. (And in fact the closure is in effect from 3pm until 10pm, so it's actually a very significant period)

Mystic Mog: that's not really the case. The reason that films go abroad to film is because all the facilities/hotels/crews etc etc are offered at a bargain rate and because there are very significant tax breaks too. A single day's filming in a unique location like Lewes - picturesque mediaeval high street etc etc - isn't going to be that easy to relocate to Hungary, believe me. And since this is an ad rather than a feature film (where people would probably know it was Lewes and it could do us good) it's very unlikely to bring great tourist benefit. So frankly I think it's a rubbish deal for the town.
 
 
On 1 Aug 2012 at 2:59pm Sussex Jim wrote:
Having read Carl Fairall's explanation, I still do not see why this filming has to take place on a Saturday afternoon. Ther must be other less busy times. As a revolting peasant, I suggest that we all frequent the High Street pubs at 3.00, and the take turns at wandering across the streets, possibly pretending to be slightly inebriated, until 5.00
 
 
On 1 Aug 2012 at 4:44pm nosa renda wrote:
Mystic they are not filming downton abbey,its allegedly an ad for BT.
 
 
On 1 Aug 2012 at 6:10pm Castle Gate wrote:
I've just seen the signs in the High Street opposite my house banning parking from 3pm until 10pm on Saturday. Well, that's completely ruined our plans, then. We were going to move quite a lot of furniture in and out that afternoon and evening, and a lot of people had been contacted to help out, two of whom have bought advance rail tickets to be here.

Furthermore, it's Proms in the Paddock that day and evening. Now, I imagine that sync sound won't have much of a role in a commercial shoot so the band and fireworks might not be troublesome, but won't the roads taken over by the film crew be some of the main pedestrian routes to and from the Paddock's all day festival?

Citizens and Council Tax payers of Lewes, this is all the information we have so far. It's for the filming of an advert for BT, and BT is paying £400 to close thriving parts of our town down on a busy Saturday afternoon and summer's evening. (Carl, or anyone: is this figure wrong? If it's a shed-load of money, which can be ploughed back into our town and its businesses, the dissent might be eased. Will there be some facts forthcoming?) I am a resident of one of the places being shut, and have not been consulted. Has anyone else who lives and trades here been consulted, by the way? The register of street closures (linked below) only mentions the South Street Bonfire Society's sports day (and may they enjoy much success) on that day in aid of local causes anyone can ask about in The Snowdrop or elsewhere.

As for pedestrians being asked to remain in places where they are "not in shot", this is really rather serious. Nobody in Lewes voted for our streets and pavements to be closed or restricted, even for two minutes at a time, for a private enterprise to be able to advertise its brand. Shall we be druv in such a way or shall we take our place on our streets? The pavements and safe road crossings are for all to use at any time exactly as we wish.

By the way, if this is an advert for any kind of BT Internet service, particularly its "Infinity" broadband service using fibre, let us remember that BT's fibre service doesn't yet work in Lewes (at least, near the Castle), according to the BT website. This has just been checked on the BT website.

Let us make the fullest possible use of our streets on Saturday late afternoon and evening, unless somebody would like to consult us on fair compensation for the temporary loss of our town's rights of way.

The weather forecast, incidentally, is for sunny intervals, becoming clearer before sunset.

Check it out here »
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 6:23pm Peter wrote:
Good post from the location manager - thank you. He has consulted with our elected and many-layered councils (all filled with the same councillors) which seems fair enough. These people keep getting voted in so maybe you should ask them the reasons for this decision. Seems fair enough to me - albeit £400 seems on the low side!
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 6:54pm Lets fight back wrote:
Those interested in forming an anti filming group should all gather at 3pm outside the castle gate museum and bring something very loud - drums, whistles, rook scarers, ghetto blasters and all bonfire boys welcome. This council is crap and we are fed up with poor decisions and bad communication.
What idiot would grant temporary suspension of traffic lights and suspend all parking in the high street on the busiest Saturday afternoon of the month (farmers market and all the visitors that it brings to the top of the town in the afternoon). Lewes is famous for not sitting back and getting shat on and its time we fought back!
 
 
On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:00pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
He may have consulted with them, but they haven't consulted with us (not Carl's fault, obviously).
How hacked off would you be if you were trying to move house on the High Street that afternoon and had to to keep stopping for 2-3 minutes? How hacked off would you be if you had a shop along there and the Saturday afternoon browsers provided a significant chunk of your week's takings?
It's likely to be a busy night in town for pedestrians, there's quite a lot going on this weekend. It would have been far more sensible to film on a Sunday when the town is quieter and most of the shops shut, but I daresay BT didn't want to pay Sunday rates to all the crew.
I wouldn't mind betting that whatever fee has been paid for the closure it is retained by ESCC to cover their "administrative costs" and not a penny piece goes to Lewes residents or traders.
Maybe BT would like to give us all free calls for a day by way of compensation.
 
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:10pm Southover Queen wrote:
£400 is simply ridiculous, Peter, it really is. If our Saturday afternoon is to be turned upside down, as it seems that Castle Gate's now is, then as he says outrage would be considerably eased if the sum charged were commensurate with the inconvenience. (Perhaps it might pay for a safe crossing point!)

Thank you very much to Carl for his post, but actually I don't think it's his fault. He asked for the street to be closed and negotiated an absurdly cheap deal - it's the Council's job to make sure that the sum agreed is the right one, that a decent notice period is given and that the inconvenience and loss is properly compensated. I don't know why Saturday is the best day for BT's schedule but it's a bloody awful day for us. It's not Carl's job to ensure that our townspeople and tradesmen aren't inconvenienced, it's the council's responsibility. And if Saturday really is the only possible day, then there should be a hefty premium payable and proper notice given.
 
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:42pm padster wrote:
Quote
"Whilst we are filming on the High Street we will have marshals present asking pedestrians if they would wait on the pavement so they are not in shot. Obviously, we can only ask for peoples cooperation. There will be a number of qualified personnel on site in addition to a Police presence, so if any member of the public has an issue, it can be dealt with directly."...oooohhhhh
You mean do as we say or the cops will nick you whilst we film our commercial? What if i don't want to cooperate and walk constantly into your shot? what then? breach of the peace? Don't get me wrong but why should the needs of BT go above our traders and locals who pay tax here? It's the nothing back , there is nothing in it for lewes , thats why people are fed up and of course people who live right on the affected streets.
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:57pm Carl Fairall wrote:
Hello again.
I feel its wise that I should make myself available to meet with any of you who wish to do so, to address some of these issues. A pub would seem an obvious choice - perhaps someone could suggest a meeting place? Say from 6pm tomorrow?
Just to be clear on a few things I've picked up from this thread:
The advert is not for BT.
The figure quoted (£400) is wrong.
The High Street is not being closed.
We are making significant donations to various Residents Associations and other organisations.
Again, I must stress how sorry I am that this situation has developed. However, after speaking with some members of the local community I'm sure we can resolve any of these issues.
As I said before, please feel free to contact me directly.
Best wishes,
Carl Fairall
07968 778134
carl.fairall@gmail.com
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:38pm Maid Marion wrote:
Well said Padster, I too am fed up with being told one thing by our council and then they do the opposite. These people need to be more accountable for what they do and the impact it has on others. I for one will be there on Saturday and be willing to get behind those who want to protest against these large companies abusing our town ad people.
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On 1 Aug 2012 at 11:14pm Christian Hopper wrote:
I applaud Carl and Mr Clubb for their responses, but its clear that the needs of a external business has been put above the needs of local, rate paying, employment supporting local businesses.
We on the High Street serve your beer, make your sandwiches, provide your gifts and flowers, and keep tourists and locals happy-but we get little practical support, and indeed an increasing variety of obstacles to success.
I know for a fact from recent experience of town closures that this will cost me significant money as the parking wardens have been putting notices on peoples cars telling them about the closure and the yellow parking suspension signs tell a different story that 'you will be ticketed if you come here between Sat 3pm and 10pm' -what will happen is that people will avoid coming into Lewes on that Saturday and possibly a whole day of trading might be lost.
Empathy and consultation needed in the future, and some compensation or adjustment for this -perhaps clarify the situation and reassure visitors to Lewes with some editorial in Sussex Express/Argos this Friday -tell them to park at County Hall for £1 all day, that might bring them in.

 
 
On 2 Aug 2012 at 7:55am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Perhaps local radio could promote the parking at County Hall and emphasise the fact that despite filming, it's a normal day in Lewes.
You might even get more people coming to town then, in the hope of seeing some slebs.
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On 2 Aug 2012 at 3:50pm BBC Sussex Reporter. wrote:
I am a journalist at BBC Sussex.
We are looking to speak to those involved eg- Local people/ traders.
If anyone would like to speak to us, please call our newsroom:
01273 320444
Many thanks.
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On 2 Aug 2012 at 8:29pm Ed Can Do wrote:
I have to say I feel sorry for Carl. He saw a pituresque high street, thought what a great backdrop it would make for an ad, went through all the right channels and by the sounds of things chucked a bit of cash into local causes and thanks to a bit of hearsay and rumour about which company it was and how much they paid, there's a bit of a witch hunt brewing.

I'm not saying that a Saturday afternoon is the best time for this kind of thing but I think the problem here is not the ad makers, it's the council for beign so incredibly poor at communicating these things and for having a track record of terrible decisions that has led most people living in town not trust them any further than they could be thrown.

It's a shame because I imagine Carl won't want to come back to Lewes again and it really is a very pretty town and once a location manager has a feel for a place, they are likely to use it again. You only have to watch a couple of the ubiquitous antiques shows on daytime tv in a week to see how one location manager can keep returning to the same place over and over.

With the High Street on it's knees as it is, who's to say that more filming wouldn't be a good thing? After all, film crews need to eat and drink and probably stay somewhere on an extended shoot. Hell, they might even want to buy a bunch of flowers while they're here and should the ad makers suddenly decide that a nice bouquet would brighten up a shot then the kind of budget a modern advert has means they wouldn't care too much how much Lewesiana is charging for it.

Like I said, this could have been better managed and scheduled but you all need to be talking to the idiots at County Hall about that, not the advertising people.
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On 3 Aug 2012 at 9:56am Southover Queen wrote:
Ed, I completely agree with you. As it turns out Carl made it clear at the meeting last night that most of this was unfounded gossip and rumour, and I drew the very clear conclusion that the problem is lack of communication between the THREE councils involved. One of them gave conflicting and probably wrong advice and all failed to raise the question of whether a Saturday afternoon was really the best time to schedule this filming. Carl came over as a very hard working professional who is entitled to hope for the same when he seeks advice, guidance and local knowledge from the authorities and I think he was let down badly.

As I said in the other thread, it's quite clear that we need someone to act as a Film Officer - someone who can co-ordinate the permissions from the three local authorities, someone who understands the needs of a film unit and someone who could get in touch with the people affected in good time and seek advice rather than imposing a fait accompli as happened here. I'm quite convinced that such a post would more than pay for itself in very short order: our town, villages and the surrounding countryside of East Sussex are potentially prime locations, but I'd guess that Carl would think twice before booking Lewes again!


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