Film disruption is a'˜price worth paying'

Fears of disruption and possible loss of trade have been raised ahead of filming for Outlaw King in Berwick.

Thursday, 28th September 2017, 10:27 am
Updated Thursday, 28th September 2017, 13:09 pm
Berwick Quayside.

Preparations for the movie will start in earnest over the next few days before filming on October 9 and 10.

The potential long-term benefits of the film in terms of raising the town’s profile have been acknowledged but concerns remain about the short-term impact.

David Thompson, who runs Berwick Boat Trips from the Quayside, will have to cease business during the two days of filming.

However, he has greater concerns about the loss of trade while the Quayside area is used for filming.

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Several road closures are planned and parking restrictions will be in place.

“I think it’s going to have a major impact on us,” he said. “We rely heavily on footfall coming down to the Quayside, perhaps 60 per cent of our trade, and that’s going to be severely curtailed by the various restrictions that are going to be in place.”

His wife, Pamela, added: “To make matters worse, it’s the Scottish half-term holidays which is our last real chance of the season to do some good business.

“I hope the film will encourage more tourists to visit the town but we’re going to take a short-term hit.”

The Lookout café, which only opened on the Quayside last week, is closing for two-and-a-half weeks.

However, Lily Barnes has a different outlook.

“I think it’s a good thing for helping to promote the town,” she said. “Hopefully, it being the location for a film will bring more business to the Quayside.”

The Lookout has been offered compensation whereas Berwick Boat Trips has not.

“The film company could have been in touch with us a bit more,” added Mr Thompson. “I’d just like someone to speak to us about how it’s going to affect us.”

Berwick Chamber of Trade is taking the longer-term view that the film could boost visitor numbers.

Stephen Scott, secretary, said: “The Chamber’s view is that the filming of the Outlaw King is a good thing for Berwick. It will give the town some publicity, which will bring economic benefits both during the period of filming and hopefully when the film is released too.

“The filming will inevitably bring a little disruption, particularly as it will create parking problems in some areas of the town.

“However, we feel this is a price worth paying for the publicity and for the boost the town will receive. Most importantly, let us all enjoy our bit of the limelight.”

The film focuses on 1308 when Robert the Bruce was made an outlaw by the English. The Quayside is being turned into the Port of Glasgow, while the Old Bridge will be London Bridge.