Communities ‘should benefit from Hollywood blockbuster filming’

Councillors in Glasgow made the comments as £42.2m was brought into the city from big budget productions.

Communities ‘should benefit from Hollywood blockbuster filming’ STV News

Glasgow’s communities should benefit more directly from the arrival of Hollywood blockbusters on the city’s streets, councillors have said.

It was revealed this week that major movies and TV productions brought a record £42.4m of direct local spend into the economy in 2021.

Scenes for The Flash, Batman and Indiana Jones were shot around Glasgow last year while Batgirl is currently being filmed in the city.

Councillors have welcomed the influx of crews into Glasgow, but they want to see residents get more out of their arrival.

Cllr Eva Bolander, who represents the city centre, said she has received “far fewer complaints from residents in respect of filming than I ever have when we have big events blocking off streets”.

She added community benefits, such as training opportunities, help to “enhance our city, as a very good city for creative industries”.

“I’m interested to hear whether there would be a possibility of introducing any other paybacks or paying into communities for other things that could benefit them in the longer run. I’m thinking of the public realm,” she said.

“I think that is the question we do get so often, if you generate so much money, why doesn’t the council get the money? Why don’t we get anything into our area?

“I’m very supportive of this, seeing the number of people come down to that area of the city, it’s almost like a tourist attraction in itself.”

Cllr Ruairi Kelly, who chairs the neighbourhoods, housing and public realm committee, said community benefits have been discussed, and there is an intention to include them in contracts when they are agreed.

Jennifer Reynolds, from the Glasgow Film Office, added: “This is a discussion that is taking place with senior management in economic development.

“It’s not something that I am directly involved with, but the discussions are taking place about the use of filming incentives and how to then leverage the training and employment opportunities that can be derived from production taking place in the city.”

Cllr Kelly said there should be apprenticeships and training opportunities available to local young people while the productions are in the city, then “the potential for that long-term career within Glasgow”.

“I know plenty of people that have trained or studied for that industry having to go to London or further afield for work, so having that pipeline to a career in the city would be fantastic.

“That would be the sort of community benefit that would be great to see, and probably the most realistic to be getting.”

Cllr Jill Brown said it was “great to hear of the successes” but asked about the compensation available to local businesses affected by filming, particularly “given the impacts of Covid over the last few years”.

She said: “There are a number of parts of town that are very heavily impacted, repeatedly heavily impacted, by production.”

Ms Reynolds said: “There has been a particular area in the city, notably the Parnie Street, Chisholm Street area that has been used quite a bit in the past year.

“The productions are made aware that this is an area that is very popular, it’s very photogenic.

“When the productions come to us to say they want to film in this area, they have to go through the appropriate channels to achieve the road closures needed to create a safe working environment.”

A condition of the closure is productions must engage with the local community, notifying people on when they intend to film.

“Most of the road closures that are enacted for filming are enacted with the proviso that pavements are maintained, they may be restricted briefly while cameras are rolling or while machinery is being moved around.

“If it turns out the production requests businesses to close, they will pay the businesses for this. There very often is a payment made to businesses to reflect the inconvenience that is being caused.

“As far as I’m aware, this is what has happened in the most recent filming in Parnie Street and Chisholm Street.”

She said the figure was “between the production company and a private business”.

Cllr Kelly said retail has been “hit very badly” by the pandemic, with “the lack of people working in town”, as “opposed to the film industry using Glasgow as a set and bringing lots of money into the city”.

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