View of Warren Street, Fitzrovia with film vehciles and toilet unit.
Residents on Warren Street were woken at 5am by film crews moving equipment. Photo: Fitzrovia News.

Camden Film Office had to take action to remove noisy and polluting power generators and equipment outside of homes in Warren Street after they received complaints of late night and early morning nuisance by a film production company.

Left Bank Pictures had arranged with Camden Film Office to use Fitzroy Square for filming and to use the surrounding streets for support vehicles on Thursday 22 September. Parking bays were suspended to allow equipment to be stored on the streets for up to three days.

Some residents received a letter notifying them of the film shoot and promising to keep disruption to a minimum.

In that letter location manager Frederik Tyson-Brown told residents: “It is our priority to carry out our filming with minimum disruption to the community.”

But despite the street bays being made available from the morning of the day before filming, production teams turned up at 9 o’clock at night to deliver bulky equipment, including a toilet block which they left outside people’s homes in Warren Street.

One driver was seen sat in his SUV idling his engine which led to a complaint to the production company. While this was dealt with quickly the driver should not have been idling in the first place as Camden Council has a no-idling policy, has signage up in Fitzrovia about this, and all film crew personnel should have been briefed on the policy.

The following morning residents were woken at 5am because film vehicles were being moved on Warren Street and engines were again left idling.

Generator truck parked on Fitzroy Street. Photo: Fitzrovia News.

Despite Fitzrovia being in an air quality action area an “18 tonne rigging generator truck” fuelled by “red diesel” was parked on Fitzroy Street. 

Filming also took place on Charlotte Street where there were five petrol or diesel generators located, some of which could be heard running on Charlotte Street before 8am.

Film vehicles on Charlotte Street. Photo: Fitzrovia News.

No advance notice of the filming was sent by email to residents groups including the Charlotte Street Association, Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association, or Fitzrovia News (despite previous requests made to Camden Film Office to do so). And the advance leaflet drop was patchy.

Some residents said they had no advance warning of filming, and another reported that only one leaflet had been delivered to a multi-household block.

Getting out proper advanced notice in good time is appreciated by local residents, we are told.

In general, residents tell Fitzrovia News they are fed up of film crews treating the neighbourhood as if no-one lives here. They say the attitude by film companies is arrogant and inconsiderate.

Earlier this year a film company wrote to local residents and businesses apologising for the disruptions caused by filming in Tottenham Street.

The presence of film crews outside people’s homes in Camden has been a consistent source of complaint reported the Camden New Journal.

In a lengthy response to Fitzrovia News Camden Film Office said:

“We stipulated to the production that they could not have any activity on site before 7am,” wrote film officer, Katy Pegg-Hargreaves.

“Unfortunately, some members of the team arrived early and went against our terms and conditions.”

Pegg-Hargreaves said the film production company had been informed of this and residents can expect an apology in due course.

“Idling is not permitted for any vehicles working as part of the film crew in the Borough of Camden. Usually productions are quite proactive at monitoring this themselves but unfortunately not all drivers hired by the production may be as aware or responsible when it comes to air pollution.”

Pegg-Hargreaves said that the placement of the toilet block and its associated generator next to people’s homes was “unfortunate”.

“We spoke to the production and the trailer was closed and not used again until it was taken away. The production did not have permission to park or use mobile bathroom facilities on the street,” she said.

“For every shoot in the borough we always build a resident engagement plan that involves notifications, letter drops, and for large exterior shoots, resident meetings and door knocking of affected properties and businesses.

“In this particular case, as all of the filming was taking place inside a private property, resident parking was not affected and the agreed presence of the production on the street was agreed to be minimal, we approved a resident letter distribution to ensure the local community was aware of these plans.

Internal combustion engine generator on Charlotte Street. Photo: Fitzrovia News.

“We work with every production to reduce their generator use on the streets and to ensure that only the least invasive generators, preferably electric batteries are used.

Pegg-Hargreaves claimed that “technology is still behind the demands of the industry and occasional use of generators is required”.

This statement beggars belief. It appears all the generators were using internal combustion engines. In addition, filming is a planned activity where a power strategy can be put in place. It is not an emergency service when deployment of power is unpredictable.

Camden Film Office is all too aware of residents concerns about noise and pollution, never mind the disruption that filming causes.

A large generator parked in Fitzroy Street was labelled “Red Diesel”. Camden Film Office said none of generators were using red diesel. Photo: Fitzrovia News.

“For this particular shoot none of the generators used to facilitate the filming process were red diesel. These were biodiesel generators. We asked the production to move the generator on Warren Street after it was reported causing nuisance for the local residents,” she said.

Camden Film Office is run by Film Fixer which markets the borough to film crews on behalf of Camden Council which earns an income from it.

“We collect location fees for the council. We work closely with council departments such as Highways, Parking, Housing and Leisure, the Metropolitan Police Film Unit and resident, community and trader associations to ensure all filming is managed legally, safely and smoothly,” state Film Fixer.

Left Bank Pictures were contacted for a response but none has been received. Despite an apology being promised to local residents, Fitzrovia News is not aware of any apology being received.

Below is the full response we had from Camden Film Office.

23 September 2022

Dear Mr Rees

Thank you so much for your email and for bringing these concerns to our attention so thoroughly and also for your patience whilst we investigated everything. We also saw the tweets about the issue and made sure all concerns were addressed immediately. We work hard to ensure that filming does not cause nuisance for the local community. 

The production you’ve referred to had been filming inside private property that we do not manage. As the filming authority for the borough, we can only manage their exterior presence and work to minimise it as much as possible. 

In this particular case, we worked with the production to ensure their parking footprint was as minimal as possible and we reduced their parking request by declining suspensions of residential bays and ensuring that their pay by phone bay suspensions did not disrupt operations of local businesses.

We stipulated to the production that they could not have any activity on site before 7am. Unfortunately, some members of the team arrived early and went against our terms and conditions. I’ve relayed this issue with the production who will pen an apology to the community as early arrivals were not authorised by the film office. 

Idling is not permitted for any vehicles working as part of the film crew in the Borough of Camden. If you spot such activity in the future, please call our office or 24/7 emergency phone number 07919 002 115 so that we can shut down such activity immediately. Usually productions are quite proactive at monitoring this themselves but unfortunately not all drivers hired by the production may be as aware or responsible when it comes to air pollution. This is why our 24/7 emergency number is the best and fastest way to report this. 

Thank you for reporting the unfortunate placement of the mobile facilities. We spoke to the production and the trailer was closed and not used again until it was taken away. The production did not have permission to park or use mobile bathroom facilities on the street. 

For every shoot in the borough we always build a resident engagement plan that involves notifications, letter drops, and for large exterior shoots, resident meetings and door knocking of affected properties and businesses. In this particular case, as all of the filming was taking place inside a private property, resident parking was not affected and the agreed presence of the production on the street was agreed to be minimal, we approved a resident letter distribution to ensure the local community was aware of these plans. Please let me know which properties did not receive a resident letter so that we can cross check this against our letter drop plan. I want to understand which properties were missed and how we can avoid this happening in the future. 

We work with every production to reduce their generator use on the streets and to ensure that only the least invasive generators, preferably electric batteries are used. Unfortunately, technology is still behind the demands of the industry and occasional use of generators is required. For this particular shoot none of the generators used to facilitate the filming process were red diesel. These were biodiesel generators. We asked the production to move the generator on Warren Street after it was reported causing nuisance for the local residents.

Following the feedback of the local community and yourself, we will pay special attention to any filming requests coming to this area to ensure such activity does not cause any inconvenience to the local community. We can also add your contact details to our mailing list if you prefer it. We usually send notifications as early as possible to ensure local residents are aware of upcoming filming proposals.

I want to emphasize once more that the best and fastest way to report any filming-related issue is to call our offices on 0207 620 0391 or our 24/7 Emergency Number on 07919 002 115. I hope I have answered your questions. Please let me know if you require any more information at this time. 

Kind regards

Katy Pegg-Hargreaves, Film Officer, Camden Film Office

One reply on “Production company broke ‘terms and conditions’ of filming which led to nuisance for residents”

Comments are closed.