RUSH to build film set ignores planning conditions

Set construction for RUSH at Blackbushe 17th Jan 2012

Well the news that I outlined in my morning addenda to yesterday’s post are confirmed by the photograph’s I took an hour ago.

Work is progressing fast on construction of the film set for the feature film RUSH. It would appear from the photograph’s that they are constructing the “72m run of pit garages”.

Are security and safety measures properly observed at construction of the RUSH set at Blackbushe?

This would appear to be in direct contravention of the conditions of the planning decision issued by the case officer on 12th January, where it stated

no development could take place for a p21 day period commencing the date that this permission is issued, to comply with Section 28l of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended

With this in mind, I have made Natural England (the relevant statutory authority who raised the need to issue this legal requirement when they objected to the planning proposal) aware that the planning conditions have been broken. I am awaiting their response.

I am also aware that Yateley Town Council are aware of the situation and have alerted Hart District Council’s Enforcement Officers to this breach of planning conditions. Town Councillors have told me by email that they were assured by the Case Officer at Hart District Council that

should planning officers use delegated powers and decide to grant permission to the film company, no work could be started for 21 days

Film set construction viewed from the Public Right of Way (RUSH on Blackbushe 17th Jan 2012)

These photo’s increasingly question the integrity of the film maker Ron Howard and his team, and their stated intention to (and I quote from their mailshot through my door this morning)

establish relationships with people in the nearby community such that we can respond to an particular needs or wishes.

If the obvious planning condition breaches are not enforced I believe this also brings into severe question the processes and integrity of our local planning department, their paid officials, and elected officers. Already I have seen first hand accounts of people who have contacted the Planning Department at Hart District Council and been treated rudely and with distrust.

Does this lighting protect nocturnal wildlife? (RUSH 17th Jan 2012)

Two additional issues spring to mind from the photographs that I’ve taken:

  • I could not see any visible site security or safety precautions in place – not an inch of red tape anywhere;
  • I wondered whether the lights shown in the photo (left) comply with Hampshire County Council’s Senior Ecologist’s wish that

in order to protect nocturnal life, I advise that any nocturnal lighting used, during both the proposed construction and filming, is directional and uses hooded lamps in order to prevent light spillage into the habitats adjacent to the runway



  1. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is too common.

    A friend of mine down in the west country brought to the attention of the new unitary authority that they had just given planning permission to a site which had an enforcement order ordering the removal of said structures. They merely said that it wasn’t their problem that they didn’t know about the order. When this case was taken up with the local authority ombudsmen the ruling from them was that it was “unfortunate” and nothing would be done.


  2. This is shaping up into a very sorry tale. Once the construction has started, it is all practically a fait accompli. The film makers seem willing to take the possible rap on the knuckles rather than delay filming any further. Maybe Natural England will do something but I am not very hopeful.


  3. Just had a phonecall from Natural England officer who are making strong representations to Hart District Council and the film company… there should be news in a couple of days.

    Although this may not stop anything permanently (and possibly shouldn’t), I think it is important that people don’t allow this sort of behaviour to go by completely unquestioned/unchallenged, otherwise it encourages others to try the same. We do after all have laws and regulations for good reasons.


  4. This afternoon a Yateley Councillor has advised me he has been told that members of Hart Planning Department have visited “the site and decided not at this stage to take Enforcement Action. This is because all works and storage were on the tarmac area, and therefore not seen to be doing any irreversible harm.”

    The Yateley Councillor asked about the objection that Natural England made to the planning application and was told “Natural Englands objection was taken into account but should not prevail.”

    The Yateley Councillor also asked who had given the delegated powers to the Planning Officers and was told “The Chairman of the Planning Committee at his discretion decided that it did not have to go to the Planning Committe and could be dealt with by Officers under Delegated Powers.”

    The Yateley Councillor then put across very strongly to Hart Planning Department that there was an overwhelming view here in Yateley that the assurances given at the Public Meeting were worthless (the Councillor having been told at that meeting that should planning officers using delegated powers and decide to grant permission to the film company, no work could be started for 21 days), and that it appeared therefore that Hart DC could do what they liked.


  5. Where are Natural England when the arsonists start the fires, the flytippers dump the tyres and old toilets, the motorbikes and quadbikes race across the heathland, when the rubbish blows into the undergrowth from the Sunday Market, and when the fumes and noise from the go kart track smother the airfield? I’d rather go and face a film crew as opposed to smashed glass, beer cans and used condoms.


  6. As a regular user of the area for walking my dogs I can’t wait to see it all happen.
    I’ve dodged 4x4s, motorbikes etc up there and they go across the grass/heather areas. If the local wildlife can cope with this intrusion then the filming which is restricted to the tarmac areas isn’t going to cause a problem at all.
    There was a Drag Car racing up there years ago, and Bob Dylan / Eric Clapton played there in 1978, with an attendance of 200,000 +
    This is going to bring money into the local economy, stop being a bunch of nimbys.
    SimonB Yateley


  7. As a long term resident of Yateley who uses the airfield for dog walking most days, I just don’t understand the narrow minded, pettiness of some people.
    It’s a temporary film set, not a permanent housing estate or a by-pass cutting through the countryside. The structures are on the tarmac, not the grass and quoting from Daryl Phillips, Hart’s head of planning services, confirmed that work currently on-going at the site was not in breach of the conditions of approval.
    So the film company have done absolutely nothing wrong and the local schools, businesses and community will benefit (maybe not financially in some cases, but experiences like this are priceless).
    The wildlife won’t be affected any more than with constant planes and helicopters taking off and landing, dogs running around, horse riders using the area, not to mention the fly tipping, the cars, motorbikes and quad bikes that race around illegally and the fires that break out over the summer. Where are all the objectors the rest of the year when some of these ‘real’ issues need addressing?
    Roll on the filming I say and all those not in favour need to ‘Get a life’.


  8. Now this is up and running, those Small minded people should go and look at it. The people there are polite, friendly and let you walk anywhere you want. It is great to see something interesting happening in Yateley. Stop moaning and embrace it…….


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