Council asks for law change on roadside filming

Jessie Wallace and Samantha Womack filming in Aylesbury for EastEnders. Picture copyright BBC/Jack Barnes
Jessie Wallace and Samantha Womack filming in Aylesbury for EastEnders. Picture copyright BBC/Jack Barnes

New laws to make it easier for movies, TV shows and adverts to be filmed on Bucks roads are being championed by the county council.

The authority wants new powers to close roads, footways and paths and allow equipment such as static film cameras, lighting rigs or camera tracks to be put on roads for filming.

It comes as crews filming EastEnders and an advert for property website Zoopla were seen in Aylesbury during the past week.

The Private Bill being proposed suggests altering the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. This allows temporary highway closures for sporting events, social events and entertainment. The proposal is filming be added to this list.

Should the bill go through Parliament, it would only apply to Bucks.

Project manager Nazneen Ahmad said: “In the current challenging economic times, it is important that Buckinghamshire retains its position as a great place for film and television activity and one which offers genuine advantages to the film industry.

As part of our commitment to increasing economic investment in the county and ensuring that Buckinghamshire benefits from their continued presence, we are keen to encourage more location shoots to take place.”

The council is consulting on the plan until September 9 and it will then need to be approved by members.

A draft bill could be put before Parliament in November, with July 2014 the earliest it is likely to be passed into law.

On Saturday TV stars Samantha Womack and Jessie Wallace, better known as Ronnie Mitchell and Kat Moon of EastEnders, were in Aylesbury filming scenes outside the young offenders’ institute.

Mrs Womack’s character Ronnie is to make a return after two years away serving time in prison for abducting Kat Moon’s baby son Tommy.

The prison was contacted by the production team a couple of weeks before the shoot and they agreed to pay a fee to do several hours of filming.

Two days later a film crew was in Market Square creating an advert for Zoopla.

It included a scene where a little girl rides a bike into Kingsbury, with a binman also featured in the shot.

Vehicles emerging from the High Street into Market Square were briefly stopped to allow for filming.