The Independent London Newspaper
22nd July 2014

Letters

Clear off Kiefer! Residents 'under siege' from film crews call for movie shoot moratorium in Holborn

Kiefer Sutherland the cast of 24 filmed an episode in Lincoln's Inn last month

Published: 5 May, 2014
By RICHARD OSLEY

WITH its enchanting green fields and a backdrop of historic Georgian houses, Lincoln’s Inn Fields has become the perfect location for film directors.

But residents living close to the council-managed park in Holborn say the thrill of seeing actors and film crews taking over the open space – and the road around it – is beginning to wear thin.

This week there was a call for a “moratorium” on filming for a year.

The latest objections came following a request to shoot an episode of the hit ITV drama Mr Selfridge in the area, which council documents say is scheduled to go ahead on bank holiday Monday.

The application came as “under siege” residents and park users were still smarting from the decision to allow the American action series 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland, to be filmed in the area last week. This had followed the use of Lincoln’s Inn Fields – on the Westminster side – for scenes in the new Meryl Streep movie, Suffragette.

Labour ward councillor Awale Olad said: “Local residents and users of our public spaces are not unreasonable people and understand that this area, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, with its period look, attracts big-budget movies. In the past two weeks we’ve had the set for the new film Suffragette, the TV series 24, 

and most recently the whole of series four of Downton Abbey filmed in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. My constituents are justified in feeling under siege by video cameras, massive trucks, closed roads and all the other issues that come along with filming. Our residents have suggested a moratorium for a year – I think that’s a brilliant idea.”

Camden’s film office has been shut down, with applications managed by an outside company.

“We’re in the nonsensical position of not being in control of the process but have to deal with the fallout,” said Cllr Olad.

Over the years, a host of big movies have landed in Lincoln’s Inn Fields with scenes from Harry Potter: The Order Of The Phoenix, Miss Potter and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes film among those shot there. 

Lincoln's Inn Fields have become a magnet for film crews

In an email chain, seen by the New Journal, Robert McCracken QC, from the Friends of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, added: “Filming may bring economic benefits to depressed inner-city areas – but it brings no such benefits to the Lincoln’s Inn Fields area to compensate for the damage to a historic environment and an oasis of peace in an area with a shortage of open space. The council could, and simply should, say either no more at all, or no more than two weeks each year in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and charge more.”

Another objector said: “We are getting to the point where Camden should consider a moratorium on filming for a year, or severe rationing – one shooting day a quarter perhaps?”

He suggested local residents and businesses should mount a campaign to that effect. “Or if the council won’t sort it out, take simple direct action – attend the background of shoots with a loud hailer to read Bible verses during filming etc – and simply make this a place that film companies don’t want to shoot,” he added.

A council spokesman said: “We continuously consult and engage with local residents and businesses to ensure that the impact of filming is kept to a minimum. As an iconic central London borough, Camden is in demand as a filming location, and outsourcing our film office provides us with specific skills and expertise to help us manage complex shoots, which also provide much-needed revenue.

“This includes tourism and work for Camden-based individuals and businesses in the film sector. Outsourcing our film office is delivering a saving of £40,000 a year."

Comments

response

can't see what the issue is - surely filming is vital to the economy?

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