Merry Christmas everyone – meet the stars atop our tree

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In this festive season edition of our newsletter, we introduce one of our favourite teams. A merry band who make all the difference in delivering harmony between Londoners and big-budget movie makers.

We wish you all jolly holidays and look forward to working on even more fantastic projects together in 2015.

Peace and goodwill, between locals and filmmakers

Who’s the star topping our Christmas tree this year? Southwark’s parking team – unsung heroes providing a best in class service to residents and filmmakers.

Thanks very much to their efforts, Southwark has attracted Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette in Miss You Already around Lant Street; Paddington Bear around Borough Market; Tom Hardy playing both Kray twins in Legend on Falmouth Road; and a great deal more. Southwark has become one of the most respected and profitable film offices in London.

Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transport, explains, “A good relationship is so important. We make sure everyone who might be affected is consulted well ahead of a proposed shoot. If cars have to be moved we make sure the film maker funds removal to the closest legal parking space, and provides a shuttle between homes and cars. There should never be any penalty to residents.

“In fact, we work with our film office to make sure people affected receive a donation of some sort through residents and tenants associations – something the neighbourhood can enjoy as a thanks from filmmakers.”

The secret weapon
Southwark’s secret weapon is a special film permit – granted only to essential technical vehicles. It’s issued on a daily basis, allowing film makers to use pay & display bays, single yellow lines, resident bays and in certain circumstances double yellow lines.

The special permit avoids the need to suspend parking unless it’s absolutely needed, for, say, a period shoot, meaning the streets are cleared of modern cars. As a result, residents are very rarely affected by the filming going on around them.

The special permit is just one example of the parking team’s practical, flexible approach to striking the balance between caring for residents and providing a good service to film makers.

Filming highlights with the help of Parking
Other highlights this year included a two-day shoot at Peckham Rye carpark for the film Social Suicide, in which a character falls from the third floor.

A new thriller series The Interceptor, due for broadcast on BBC1 next year, filmed around the borough, and across London, for nine months. Understandably the parking applications were relentless – and Southwark’s team was able to step up and provide them.

The Channel 4 series Youngers made the inspired decision to base the production locally, dress and make up actors before popping them in a mini bus to go out and film in the streets with a minimum of crew and cars. This not only saves significantly on production costs but also avoids disrupting residents for very long.

The King’s Speech
One of Southwark’s first big tests was Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech, shot around the Victorian mansion blocks of The Pullens Estate on Iliffe and Crampton Streets in 2006.

The shoot required 145 car spaces in an area with a primary school, where parents needed access for drop off and pick up. But at a meeting everyone involved expressed an interest in helping and rather liked the idea having Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush in the neighbourhood.

Alternative parking for residents was arranged in a nearby underground car park. Security and crew were put to work helping residents with shopping and luggage to minimise the difficulties caused.

As Cllr Williams says, “Residents have paid for their parking permits, they’ve gone through the processes to apply for them, Southwark’s kerb space is busy and the last thing they need is any more difficulty. I hope the service we provide shows that it’s possible for filming and residents to operate in harmony on London streets.”

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