The debate about the planning proposal for the filming of scenes for the feature film RUSH is becoming more public now that the Christmas holidays are over.
At the suggestion of County Councillor, David Simpson, a ‘stakeholder’ meeting with the film’s Location Manager (who commented on my previous post), planned for tomorrow morning, Friday 6th January 2012 has now been made a PUBLIC MEETING. It will be held at The Tythings by Yateley Town Council offices, at 10am.
Obviously he is aware this is very short notice, but in his email to me this afternoon suggesting I spread the word, Cllr Simpson said “I do think the more people [come] the better, as it will allow concerns to be solidified or overcome.”
So, if you can make it, I look forward to seeing you there.
I was in fact up on the airport this afternoon walking the dog as normal, talking to a friend who last year registered an unusually high density of Glow-worms on the site with the Glow Worm Society. It was fascinating to discover that the female Glow-worms live in very cracks that the makers of RUSH wish to tarmac over for the purposes of filming (especially on the western run of the tarmac crossing).
As I understand it, the “weeds, leaves and detritus” to be cleared from the runway according to the Planning Application Proposal Document, to make way for “localised spot repairs to the surface of the tarmac… to create a uniform surface” are in fact the very habitat used by both the females and the larvae, both of whom are flightless and will be active during the lifetime of the proposed set.
Thus once again (as with the issue of Schedule 1 bird species likely to nest within feet of the proposed set) I feel that the applicant’s agent has been less than honest in their statement that there are no “important habitats or other biodiversity features” being affected by the proposal.
IF it becomes necessary to clear away the sort of habitats shown in these photographs, I hope Hart District Council will insist that what the application describes as “detritus” can be moved to other areas of the old tarmac which they will NOT be using for the film set, so that any hidden Glow-worm lavae will at least be able to colonise other areas of the old airstrip, rather than being killed or dump in an inappropriate place.
Despite the fact that the supplier of the ‘grandstand’ would appear to have already been booked according to item 7 of the new document mentioned by the location manager (and I would suggest this isn’t a local firm, though I will check tomorrow), I fully agree that it would be lovely to have the economic benefits of a film location in Yateley, and the opportunities to take part or watch a film being made (especially for F1 fans).
However, partly on the evidence of the inaccurate statements made on the planning application, and partly from my family’s previous experience of working with feature film crews in important wildlife habitats, I feel that enabling these opportunities without putting in place careful constraints on what the film makers can and can’t do, will be to the long-term detriment of the wealth of wildlife that Yateley people also value for having on their doorstep.