The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 

Planning Committee Submission

Submission to Wandsworth Borough Council
Added on: 2 March 2016 at 09:36:50

Use of Battersea Park parking areas for film crew trailers

I am writing on behalf of the Battersea Society to object to the increasing use of the Rosery Gate Car Park and the Boules area in Battersea Park as a base for film crews filming in other areas of Central London. We consider that such use is in breach of planning policy and should not be permitted.

The use of the Park as a parking lot for film crews working elsewhere has significantly increased over recent months. About two thirds of the Rosery Gate car park was blocked off for three consecutive weekends from 24 January. The trailers and associated equipment constituted a major visual and physical barrier with loss of amenity for park users. Some of the remaining parking space was also used by film crew cars (evidenced by free parking stickers on their windscreens) allowing insufficient parking for normal weekend visitors. I attach a series of photos taken on Sunday 7 February showing the intrusive nature of the trailers. The filming that weekend related to the notorious 'The Foreigner' film which also involved the incident when a bus was blown up on Westminster Bridge.

This weekend use was typical. The trailers included changing rooms, make up and catering vans, with the parking area used for eating areas, satellite dishes, lighting, water hawsers and rubbish (see photos). The whole area, including the grassed area onto Prince of Wales Drive, was left accessible to pedestrians, dogs and children who could wander in amongst the vans and equipment. At the same time once in the parking area it was not possible to get through to the avenue and across to the lake as trailers had been purposely parked against the walk through links. Little policing of the area by the film company appeared to be taking place. There were therefore clear health and safety issues.  Our concern continues as the film crew are again using the area this weekend, 20 February.

Such commercial use of the Park is clearly in breach of the Council's planning policy DMO1 which states: 'areas of open space … will be protected and enhanced and development will only be permitted where:

(i) it is linked to the functional use of the open space; and

(ii) it does not harm the character, appearance or function of the open space.

Cumulative impacts of development will be taken into account in this assessment. We consider that commercial use of the Park's car parks should be subject to normal planning controls and, if permission is sought by film crews, it should be refused on the grounds that it would be in breach of DMO1. Parking for filming elsewhere is clearly not related to the function of the Park and does have a harmful and cumulative impact on its character and appearance.

We therefore ask that the Council take immediate action to stop this regular, uncontrolled use of the parking areas in Battersea Park for commercial use. Film crews and others should be subject to normal planning control.