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Sudden Street Closures for Private Filming

On 1 Aug 2012 at 6:16pm Castle Gate wrote:
I've just seen the signs in the High Street opposite my house banning parking from 3pm until 10pm on Saturday 4th August, this 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 and then go to hear live music in town that night, 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.

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 »
On 1 Aug 2012 at 6:36pm not me gov wrote:
It is not for BT. The man organising things for the film company is Karl Furwood 07968778134. Chamber of Commerce were consulted but did not discuss with members, so I am told. Highways at ESCC seem to know nothing. Maybe just a blanket waiver was bought at the parking shop. It is an ourageous contempt on High Street Traders. Heads must roll! Ha, and pedestrian movements will be controlled too. Come back uncle Joe, all is forgiven.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 6:48pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I think we should have a mass protest by getting loads of people to walk up and down the street, use the cash machines, post letters etc.
Anyone who can get their hands on crutches, zimmers or wheelchairs so that alternative routes seem not viable for them especailly welcome!
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 6:59pm Jack wrote:
I will be there with my bonfire boys. Bring plenty of Harveys for all that want to join me. Down with the county council and all the self seeking councillors.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:04pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Wow, what spirit!
I predict a sudden increase in planned police numbers.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:06pm Castle Gate wrote:
Count us right in. Not too much noise for me; and absolutely nothing anti-social. But losing the right to shop, travel and converse, losing the pavements and the ability to walk across the road as we wish on a very busy Saturday indeed, between the Farmers' Market and Proms in the Paddock, via the South Street Bonfire Society's sports day, is not to be tolerated.

Many others with me will be making Lewes town centre a thriving market-town of well-behaved sociability, commerce and pleasure, as befits this beautiful place, on Saturday afternoon and early evening. The High Street and other places are to be very, very busy indeed for the benefit of this town's people and all its legitimate traders. It would be appreciated if someone would post a map of the places where the most intense social and trading activity would be helpful on Saturday. I can't just now: Mrs Gate has made dinner.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:24pm padster wrote:
Im in.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:28pm Southover Queen wrote:
Hurrah! Generalised insurrection! (I'm beginning to feel slightly sorry for poor Carl now)

Carl, it would be really helpful if you could tell us who exactly it was who granted permission for the closure. Then maybe we can be persuaded to picket their office rather than ruin your shots! (And throw them out at the next election)
On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:30pm padster wrote:
the street closure for the BT advert does not appear to be on the link to the council website? might it be somewhere else?
On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:42pm not me gov wrote:
I understand one of the town councillors has spent most of the day trying to find out who gave the ok, and has written by e-mail to Rupert Clubb demanding that someone should say mea culpa. Make no mistake it is Highways at the County who took the decision and Rupert Clubb@eastsussex.gov.uk is the head of that department. It is very difficult to be positive about our town when unknown bureaucrats make decisons without consultation. Key commercial points would appear to be opposite Barbican House. Sussex Archeological Society would appear to have given permission for it do be done up like a pub for the occassion. So wha was wrong with the Lewes Arms, it is a pub, or if the locale must be the High Street, then the Brewers'?
On 1 Aug 2012 at 7:45pm Bald bloke wrote:
This gents name is Carl fairall , also filming in paddock road on Friday , the mobile number is the one he contacted me on so that is correct ,
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:00pm 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
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:03pm not me gov wrote:
The name had been passed to me by a third party. Apologies. Rupert Clubb has replied to the persistent town councillor, even at this late hour, I hear, saying that there is no closure. Traffic will be held up for three minutes at a time. Mr Clubb says that it was up to the film company to do the consultation, it is reported to me. But does not name the officer who gave the ok.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:05pm not me gov wrote:
Well done Mr Fairall! It really is good of you to come on to the forum. Thank you very much. A little earlier would have been better, but thank you for giving us the chance to meet you. I do appreciate it.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:10pm Carl Fairall wrote:
If someone would be so kind as to suggest a venue? Public places please, I'm slightly worried about my chances of making it out alive in any case!
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:19pm Castle Cate wrote:
What about the back garden of the Lewes Arms at 6pm tomorrow, Thursday? Or inside if wet? It's only a short walk from there to any of the proposed filming locations if a recce would be beneficial.

All the council accounts, whether Town, District or County, are open. Perhaps tomorrow the filming company can be asked how much the council officer responsible has decided our town is worth, and where exactly that money is going, and how it will benefit traders whose shop entrances will be forbidden, even temporarily, to the public on Saturday? If the film company declines to answer (or its representative is forbidden to answer due to his contract of employment), the figures will be shown in the council accounts anyway, in time, and we shall know what to do at election time, or the next time filming is suggested. And we may consider appropriate actions affecting the trading of the company benefiting from Saturday's filming.

The members of a single meeting and the opinions on this forum are, of course, not truly representative, by any measure, of the town. But this tiny survey of town residents seems to indicate that the responsibilities held by some democratically-elected representatives, or their appointed professional servants, have been executed to the dissatisfaction of the electorate.

Precise answers tomorrow would be welcome, wouldn't they?
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:27pm frankie wrote:
Mr Fairall, the parking bays ( incl the disabled bay) from the bottle neck of the High Street to the cross roads at the law courts have all been suspended on a busy Saturday for 7 hours. There will be severe disruptions to traffic travelling through the town and many people will either turn back or not bother comming to the town on that day, this will most definately have an effect on some of the smaller independant traders in the top part of the town , how about compensating some of them? Would be very interested to hear who has been paid and how much? are you willing or big enough to tell? Who is this large multi million pound company pushing all our small businesses and residents around, telling us what we can't do in our own town???? if not BT then who? come on Mr Fairall we will all find out soon.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:27pm Ducatipete wrote:
This sounds like a wind up. Don't be taken in. Lets have a riot!!!
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:29pm not me gov wrote:
My friendly town councillor has advised that Rupert Clubb, head of highways,at East Sussex County Council, as now said that as Head of the Department he must take responsibility for the decision having been made. He a, not Me a, culpa! But what a good man to say so.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:47pm Southover Queen wrote:
Carl, don't worry: you won't be lynched, not least because it's not your fault in the slightest. We have an elected body (actually we have a whole series of elected bodies, none of whom seem to have the slightest care for what suits us, the residents and businesses of Lewes) who should have said no to you, or negotiated a less disruptive time, or at the very least stipulated a much longer notice period. The amount of money isn't entirely immaterial either, because however carefully you plan it and however sympathetically you do your job on the day, it will prove to be a bloody nuisance to some and a cause of loss to others. That's why it matters what fees are to be paid and to whom.

Anyway thank you for your offer: I'm sure plenty of people will take you up on it.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 8:49pm Carl Fairall wrote:
@ Castle Gate.
Lewes Arms at 6pm it is. I'll make myself known to the bar when I arrive. So you are aware, I am bound by a confidentiality agreement so cannot discuss the project in detail; i.e. the brand etc etc. However, I can discuss how it may affect local people and how we can go about resolving this thorny issue. Also, Lewes has a fairly complex council structure (as I've found out), so I don't want to start naming names etc, as this would be unprofessional and counterproductive from my point of view.
I look forward to meeting with some of you tomorrow.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 9:07pm Fair trade wrote:
Carl, can we suggest the filming is delayed for 2 hours and starts when the shops and other businesses are winding down. I think that would be a fair compromise.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 9:14pm Ralf B. wrote:
I understand that the Film crew have bought all the parking bays in that part of the High Street from 3pm till 10pm, totally monopolising that part of the town. Surely this should not be allowed to happen. The Parking shop should be in control over this and there should only be a maximum of 3 bays per day to be pre- reserved in one particular area. Your thoughts please?
On 1 Aug 2012 at 9:30pm padster wrote:
Use the public highway but due to confidentiality clause cannot tell us the brand ? Do the council know who this commercial is for ? If so then it should be public knowledge if they don't then what fools do we have running our council . This is important , you could in theory be filming for the society for torturing kittens and I would imagine if you were it would be right it is public knowledge . If you can't tell us the brand , who can ? So to be clear can I drive through town on Saturday at 4 p.m.? And if I wanted to can I park outside HSBC ?
On 1 Aug 2012 at 9:38pm not me gov wrote:
Do not lose sight of the fact that the Chamber of Commerce was consulted but did not circulate their members who were excluded from the debate. Also, at any council level, appointed officers seem to have made these decisions without reference to any elected members whatsoever. And as far as the County goes, Rupert Clubb has stated as head of that departent (highways) he takes responsibility. And good for him, imho, for being the only one to stand up and say so. Officers need to be reminded that they are accountable and must always explain themselves.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 10:32pm Lolcake wrote:
Now you feel like I do about.bonfire night, and there's nothing you can do about it. "if you don't like what's going n don't go into Lewes at day"
On 1 Aug 2012 at 10:36pm bonzo dog wrote:
If Lewes and its environs is going to be used more for filming, and why should it not be, then one of the many layers of admin should appoint a films officer as other areas do, whose job will be to promote the area for such use and negotiate commercial terms for its use, and consult with residents in traders in the affected areas before agreemnet is reached.The many layered system we have at present does not work at present and the subject needs to be rethought.
On 1 Aug 2012 at 11:08pm Southover Queen wrote:
Hear, hear bonzo dog. Exactly. And please don't take it out on the filming on Saturday: that's the wrong target. The target has to be whoever allowed this suspension of parking and limited access on a busy Saturday afternoon with virtually no notice. It's either grossly incompetent or fantastically thoughtless.
On 2 Aug 2012 at 7:35am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Well said Bonzo Dog.
This is typical of what happens when decisions are made by County Hell apparatchiks who have no idea about what actually goes on in town. As for voting them out, we never voted them in. I remain suspicious that the Tory county council doesn't give a damn about what goes on here as they have few votes to lose.
On a more practical note, are there any free motorcycle parking bays in town other than the ones opposite the Crown Court (which will be out of use on Saturday)? I have a friend coming down on his bike for the day.
Kudos to you Carl, for having the decency to discuss this with residents.
On 2 Aug 2012 at 8:35am Full diary wrote:
Lets hope he turns up , he made an arrangement to meet me last week in a pub ( a sweetener ? ) but was a no show , fingers crossed
On 2 Aug 2012 at 8:59am fozzie wrote:
Its a joke a load of DFL's come here for the day and upset our local trading, thoughtless council members with no idea, Rupert Clubb of Highways should be more clued up, surely anyone can see if a Film crew of some size wants to do filming in th High St on a busy Saturday afternoon, this will cause disruptance to the norm he should have been more thorough and more discussions should have taken place. Traders should have been advised out of curtisy and allowed a say in the matter before Highways!!!! agree such things - look at the bigger picture Rupert - you muppet.
On 2 Aug 2012 at 9:24am Captain wrote:
Well lewes high street is unique, considering the economic woes the country faces the high street doesnt have too many empty retail units... Maybe the dfl's bring a little bit of cash in?
On 2 Aug 2012 at 9:39am the old mayor wrote:
Reminder - The High Street is NOT actually closed, only all the parking bays !! So nothing to stop us driving up & down blowing our horns and having our stereos blaring !! Its going to be a real hoot !! Havent done that since I was 17 !!!
On 2 Aug 2012 at 10:16am Film Buff wrote:
I suggest that next time you are all enjoying a trip to the movies, take a moment
to observe how many scenes are shot in public places. I then ask you to count
how many are shot in this country.......the answer about 1%. The reason for this
is that cretins like you lot are so short sighted to the enormous revenues the film and
tv industry brings. Not just the location fees but the tourists visiting the spots where
a favourite scene was shot. The attitude of the British to anything such as this is
the reason why nobody bothers to shoot here. I suggest you look into the revenue
that NYC gets from the film industry and its spin offs. We could be reaping all that cash, but no, lets just make it difficult and expensive so they go somewhere easier
and cheaper.
On 2 Aug 2012 at 11:11am Southover Queen wrote:
I know that there are at least two of us commenting on this thread who have direct experience of working in that industry "film buff". If you cared to read the responses properly you'd see that actually there's no objection to crews wishing to film here at all and Carl and his team would be very welcome normally.

What everyone is objecting to is the total lack of consultation from our elected representatives, or indeed the Chamber of Commerce, who have decided to grant permission to film at the busiest time in the whole week and to suspend all parking rights until 10pm. Not only have they done this on a Saturday but they've given us precisely four days notice.

The notices make it quite clear that co-operation from the public is expected to facilitate filming, so presumably anyone making a noise or getting in shot will be sanctioned and of course traffic will be stopped for these "two minute periods".

So kindly tell me how this is benefiting the business community of this town? Has anyone offered to compensate the traders who will certainly lose custom? Where are these huge location fees you mention going?

I reiterate that it's not the location manager's fault. His job is to arrange with the appropriate authorities to get the parking suspension and traffic control measures in place at a time and date which suits his schedule. The fault lies very fairly and squarely with whoever it was who decided to grant permission at very late notice without any kind of consultation whatsoever, and that's ESCC.

Try that in New York, and you'd get a very loud Brooklyn accented raspberry. That's because it's the job of the authorities to find a way of making filming happen without strangling the normal life of the location and that's where our authorities have failed us - and not for the first time either.
On 2 Aug 2012 at 11:12am Castle Gate wrote:
Film revenues and tourism spin-offs are very welcome. However, an officer of the County Council has permitted Lewes to be disrupted for an advert, not a feature-film accompanied by the possibility of the affection often given to good films. Very few television commercials bring rewards to the communities disrupted by their filming; perhaps the only significant example is Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset, caused to appear as a northern town in Ridley Scott's 1973 commercial for Hovis bread.

New York City, as mentioned above, is a different matter. Unlike Lewes with its narrow footpaths and winding roads easily blocked or made unsafe by commercial filming operations (not to mention ordinary members of the public who forget how tiny these streets are), New York City's sidewalks are several metres wide, and are straight. For portable filming operations in the city for any film, no matter how expensive (except Central Park), the Mayor's office requires no advance permission to be sought: only that 8 feet of sidewalk remains clear for pedestrians.

The filming company's staff who will be here on Saturday are doing their job in a very, very difficult industry where fewer projects become profitable year by year. Many highly trained and considerate, creative professionals in that industry are now living below the threshold of poverty or taking on temporary jobs in order to use their talents. By an officer of the council, they were led to believe that filming, under the circumstances given, would be permitted and, possibly, not resisted by the people of Lewes. If there is police support during the filming on Saturday (as indicated by the company concerned), it will be partly to ensure there is no breach of the peace, because a body with appropriate authority (the County Council) has made alterations to the life of Lewes on that day. Therefore, to abide by democratic (not anarchic) principles, it is the County Council and its officers to whom the ire must be shown. The film company's management will, I'm sure, be made aware of this; but not thrown out of the town.

It is still disturbing that our streets are being restricted, without our choice and at short notice, for a commercial company's benefit: and yet we are still not permitted to know which company's product is being promoted, nor what benefits are being paid to Lewes by the production company other than an unspecific indication of "donations to Residents Associations". The company concerned ought to furnish this town with at least those facts and I encourage them to do so at the earliest possible opportunity either at tonight's meeting or through the Press and on-line sources such as this website.

6pm, Lewes Arms, today (Thursday), it is. Reasonable behaviour all round.

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Interesting information. This company make an absolute fortune from the misfortune of others. I say misfortune because One... more
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