Filming for the community

Benefits to the community

Our job is managing filming in Southwark for the benefit of the community and the council.

Filming can help to raise the profile of Southwark to a wide audience and be a source of revenue for the council and local causes. London has a major international film industry which generates revenues of over £4 billion per year and employs most of the approximately 70,000 people working in the UK film industry. Southwark, as a key London borough, aims to be at the forefront of this exciting industry. For more about the UK film industry, see the BFI 2013 Statistical Yearbook.

We think it is important that filmmakers come to an agreement with people in the community before they start filming. They might offer to make donations to local associations of residents or traders, community projects like maintenance of local parks or to local charitable causes. We also encourage filmmakers to offer film opportunities in Southwark such as positions for young people on film sets.

If you are interested in being part of this process, have a look through rest of the information on this page to find out how.


Complaints

How to complain

If filming is causing a nuisance, please contact us with your name, contact details, and the details of the problem including the date and place of any particular incidents.
If the complaint is urgent, please contact us on our emergency phone number which is 07919 002115.

What we do

Below is a list of some common complaints and how we address them:
My child has been cast in a film or photo shoot, do they need a special licence?
Yes, the production company must get a child performance licence for each child which they cast. These are issued by the Southwark Council.
There is unrestricted parking on my road which film makers use to park constantly. How can I stop this from happening?
While there is no legal means to prevent parking on unrestricted roads, we will always try to find alternative parking that works for everyone.
Why do you need to close roads for filming?
Closing roads is sometimes unavoidable for health and safety reasons - for example if there are dangerous stunts - or if it is necessary for certain scenes for example in period films.
What is the best way for me to make my voice heard about filming in my neighbourhood?
Southwark Film Office and filmmakers regularly consult with local resident associations and trader associations. These include but are not limited to formal Tenant and Resident Associations. The best way to be involved in these discussions is to join or create a local association like this and contact us if necessary so that we know about it.
What about if, for example, I want to make a personal video using my phone - are you saying I need a licence?
No, this sort of filming would probably not need a licence. As a general rule, if your video involves less than five people, is not for commercial purposes and does not cause an obstruction or nuisance on public or council property, you do not need a licence.
What if I don't want to be filmed, or my property to be filmed?
Southwark Film Office expects responsible behaviour from filmmakers when they are filming people or private property, so please contact us if you are concerned about this. We enforce high standards in our client boroughs but you have no right under English law to prevent yourself or your property being filmed if the camera is on public property, although your legal rights to privacy and data protection might be violated by filming in certain circumstances. Please see our complaints section to find out more about this.
Is there a risk of my neighbourhood becoming overrun by filmmakers?
Our main priority is to protect the interests of the community during filming, which means making sure this doesn't happen. We monitor the amount of filming throughout the borough, as well as feedback from the community, to see if any neighbourhoods are being over-used. We often use our local knowledge to suggest alternative locations to make sure that filming is as evenly distributed as possible.
How much would it cost me to add a location to Southwark Film Office's location library?
This is a free service for properties in Southwark. However, if you want Southwark Film Office to manage filming in your property, we will take an agreed share of the fee to cover our costs.
What do I get out of letting people film on my property?
You can charge the filmmakers a fee, which can be whatever you agree. If you ask us or a location agency to manage filming in the property for you, you will need to agree the fees with us or them in advance. To give you an idea, have a look at our fees and charges for filming on council or public property.
My neighbour has filming booked in, what can you do to stop it happening?
We cannot stop it happening because it is on private property. However, we are usually able to use our influence to encourage filmmakers to act responsibly even when on private property, so do contact us (using out 24 hour emergency number if necessary) if you are concerned about this and we will do what we can. Of course, the usual rules about unreasonable noise or nuisance still apply (for example if a neighbour is having a loud party), so if you think they are breaking these rules then you can contact the Southwark Noise and Nuisance Team.
I have received a letter about filming through my door, what is it?
Probably it is a letter to notify you about planned filming in your neighbourhood. The letter should include the contact details of the filmmaker who can answer any questions you have about the filming.
What's in it for me if there's filming in my neighbourhood?
We encourage filmmakers to speak with the local community to reach agreement before filming. Often this agreement involves donations to local community spaces like parks or schools, or to local charities or local associations of residents or traders. Sometimes it can also involve opportunities for locals to be involved in the filming. Filming in Southwark and London is also a source of revenue for the council and the government.
What if a parking bay is suspended while I'm parked there and nobody tells me, or I'm on holiday?
Your vehicle will not be impounded and you will not have to pay a penalty. The matter will be dealt with by Southwark Council, who will relocate your vehicle to the nearest available space and will notify the police where it is. The council follow the same procedure if parking is suspended for any other reason, such as utility works.
Why do you sometimes need to suspend parking bays for filming?
Suspending parking is sometimes unavoidable to make sure there is space for essential technical vehicles, or to keep roads clear for certain shots like period shots. Technical vehicles often need to be parked right next to the location for health and safety reasons, for example reducing the amount of electrical cables around the set.
Parking has been suspended for film reasons
Parking is often needed for support and technical vehicles during filming. We proactively explore with the council ways to minimise the impact of suspending bays. Resident and Business Permits do not guarantee the holder a parking space, and the council has the right to suspend bays. When this is necessary for filming, we always give advance notice at the affected bays.
Filming activities are causing excessive noise or light
Some filming activities make noise and bright light. The majority of filming is only licensed between 7am and 11pm to minimise the disturbance this might cause. If we think a planned shoot is likely to cause significant disturbance, we make sure that the filmmakers come to an agreement in advance with people in the neighbourhood for example through letters and Q&A sessions with local associations of residents or traders. We can include any agreed conditions in the license and can take deposits from the filmmakers. The deposits may be donated to local causes if the conditions are breached. We also have a 24 hour emergency phone number for you to call us if you are being disturbed, and we will immediately contact or visit the set to resolve the situation. If a filmmaker does not act responsibly, it will count against them in future applications to film.
Filming personnel are being rude or antisocial
We expect film crews to film and act responsibly, and consider any rude or antisocial behaviour to be unacceptable. Before most shoots filmmakers will give their contact details to local people, so if a member of the film crew is rude or antisocial you can contact the filmmaker directly. If this does not resolve the situation, you can call us on our 24 hour emergency phone number and we will immediately contact or visit the set to resolve the situation. If a filmmaker or their crew does not act responsibly, it will count against them in future applications to film.
Filming activities are blocking my route, or restricting access to my house or business
Filmmakers may not block access to your house or business without your permission. Neither may they block a pavement or highway while it is in use, although in some cases we may close off an area for them. If we think a planned shoot is likely to cause an obstruction, we make sure that the filmmakers come to an agreement in advance with anyone who might be affected for example through letters and Q&A sessions with local associations of residents or traders. We can include any agreed conditions in the license and can take deposits from the filmmakers. The deposits are usually donated to local causes if the conditions are breached. We also have a 24 hour emergency phone number for you to call us if you are being disturbed without your permission, and we will immediately contact or visit the set to resolve the situation. If a filmmaker or their crew does not act responsibly, it will count against them in future applications to film.
My business has suffered because of filming in the neighbourhood
If Southwark Film Office thinks that a proposed shoot might disrupt nearby businesses, we expect the filmmaker to contact the owners in advance of the shoot to reach an agreement for example through letters and Q&A sessions with associations of residents and traders. If you believe your business is suffering and you did not agree to the filming, then please contact us (using our 24 hour emergency phone number if necessary).
Filmmakers are filming me without my permission
There is no specific right under English law to not be filmed in public but you do have legal rights to privacy and data protection which might be violated by filming under certain circumstances. Southwark Film Office supports Film London's guidance that all filmmakers should have your permission if you appear on film, especially if you feature significantly. However, there are situations when you might be filmed 'incidentally' and it is not reasonably possible for the filmmaker to get your permission (for example if you are one of a large crowd in public). In these cases, we expect filmmakers to make people aware (for example with 'filming in progress' signs). If you have spoken to the filmmaker and you believe that they are not living up to these expectations, we also have a 24 hour emergency phone number for you to call us on and we will immediately contact or visit the set to resolve the situation. If a filmmaker does not act responsibly, it will count against them in future applications to film. For more details on your legal position, have a look at Film London's guidelines.
Filmmakers are filming my property without my permission
Generally speaking you have no legal right to prevent your property being filmed (there some are exceptions). Nonetheless, we expect filmmakers to behave responsibly and to react positively to reasonable requests from property owners. If you have spoken to the filmmaker and you feel that the film crew are not living up to these expectations, we have a 24 hour emergency phone number for you to call us on and we will immediately contact or visit the set to resolve the situation. If a filmmaker does not act responsibly, it will count against them in future applications to film. For more details on your legal position, have a look at Film London's guidelines.

You and filming in your neighbourhood

You can help to use local filming to your community's advantage by joining or creating a local resident or trader association. Or your neighbourhood might already run an association you can join. The council has a list of some tenants and residents associations that might be helpful, click here for more information on these. We notify the associations we know of about any filming planned in their area, and we have standing agreements with several of them. If you represent an association like this and would like to be more involved in local filming, please send us an email with the contact and other details of the association.

For major shoots, we encourage filmmakers to engage with known local associations to agree conditions for filming, which can include direct donations to local causes. Film makers behind smaller shoots usually send in advance letters to all nearby buildings, or visit in person to talk through the plans and discuss any issues which need to be addressed.

Our community consultation process is guided by the Code of Practice for Location Filming in London.

From time to time, Southwark Film Office conducts a comprehensive survey of residents and traders about their experience of  filming in their neighbourhoods. This is part of the agreement between FilmFixer and Southwark Council to make sure we are providing a quality service to the community.

If you would like to take part in the survey please send us an email with your name and address.

What you like about filming in Southwark

Many Southwark residents and traders are enthusiastic about hosting filming – it’s an opportunity to be part of your favourite films or shows, and a good way of raising funds for local projects. If you’d like to tell us what you like about having filming in London, please send us an email with your name, address and feedback.
 
“We have a very well established way of passing on residents’ views about filming to the Council. Some years ago there was the sense that filming was uncontrolled and we weren’t being respected. Now that Southwark runs a proper film office, it’s possible to manage filming in a way that works for everyone. People quite enjoy filming if it’s managed properly – it’s always a bit thrilling to glance out the window and see a super star. Whether it’s Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones or Rupert Penry-Jones in Whitechapel 2. It’s important to us as an association that we spend the donations from filmmakers on activities everyone can enjoy. The ability to control the impact of filming is really important. The film office get a lot of requests to film here and it is good to monitor and balance the amount of filming that happens here so residents still find filming thrilling rather than an annoying, noisy inconvenience" 
 
Alison Walker has been representing residents on local filming for 10 years via the Trinity Newington Residents Association