Parish council voices numerous complaints about filming of Vera

Filming at Craster harbour for the seventh series of Vera. Picture by Susan Hurst-Robinson
Filming at Craster harbour for the seventh series of Vera. Picture by Susan Hurst-Robinson

Concerns have been raised by Craster Parish Council about a production team’s approach to filming a major ITV drama in the village.

Last week, the Gazette reported critical comments from trader Andy Grant who complained that the area’s Quarry Car Park was closed for six days – from June 8 to 13 – to allow for the shooting of Vera series seven.

The 45-year-old, who interrupted filming by playing his bagpipes, moaned that shutting the site for nearly a week had a devastating impact on his catering business nearby.

Now, the parish council – which has said that it is not against filming in the village – has admitted that there were issues as a result of the shooting. And it has sent a list of ‘learning points’ to other parish and town councils to try to alleviate issues in the future.

The council claims that some of the problems included the late notice of closing the car park, filming on private property without warning and indiscriminate parking.

In the email, the parish council states: ‘The intention of these learning points is to ensure that there is effective engagement with the location company rather than to try to stop them using our village. Our village has previously been used as a location and has accepted this use and is not unaware of the likely problems. That being said, our experience with the latest filming has raised far more issues than previous shoots.’

The parish council states that the company did deliver a flier to most houses in the village a fortnight before the proposed filming date, followed by a second flier a week later amending the dates, but there was no mention of a total closure of the car park. The parish council was then ‘most concerned’ when it was informed on June 6 by the county council – who only found out three days prior – that the site would be shut for six days.

The parish council had to inform local businesses about the closure.

Members add that a deal was brokered with a local farmer to open a field – which is normally used as a much-needed overflow car park at busy periods – for the six days during filming, but this will impact later in the year, as the site can only be used annually as a car park for 28 days.

Another complaint was that ‘there was at least one occasion when a shot was set up on private property without notice or offer of recompense to the owner of the land. When the owner required access to storage sheds on the land during the filming they were refused by the film crew as they were in the middle of a shoot.’

The parish council says that prior to filming, it was advised that ‘a small number of large vehicles’ might need to be parked on the road, but if this impacted on the safety of passing traffic, then this would be policed by a crew member with a stop/go board. But the parish council says that large vehicles were parked for ‘long periods of time indiscriminately around the village and on double-yellow lines and blind crests with no safety measures like the stop/go boards’.

It adds: ‘Chauffeurs of cars used to transport the key cast members were also instructed by members of the location crew to park in private parking bays and spaces without contact with the bay owners.’

The parish council says that some filming took place late at night in Craster Harbour. The council states: ‘It was always understood that this may cause some disruption and was accepted by those whose houses overlook the harbour. The reality was far in excess of anything advised by the company.’

The parish council says that a cherry-picker-type vehicle blocked the access road to houses behind Dunstanburgh Road and the access to the off-street parking and garages of houses on the road.

Members add that the cherry picker ‘was then used to mount a bank of floodlights bright enough to illuminate the whole harbour and was set up no more than 10 feet from the bedroom window of the house where it was parked’.

But, the parish council adds that the crew tried its best to be helpful and work with the community and the team is making donations to Craster Community Trust and the Church Roof Appeal.

County councillor Kate Cairns has passed on the concerns to the county council.

An ITV spokeswoman said: “The production team took appropriate action to communicate their plans to residents and businesses in Craster prior to filming. We are grateful for the cooperation received and the involvement from the parish council and county council and apologies if any disruption was caused.”