10:35AM, Tuesday 24 August 2021
A business owner in Bray is anxious that the new Bray Studios development could have a significant negative impact on his livelihood – from previous experience with recent filming.
Ricky Davidson owns land adjacent to Bray Studios on the former site of the Queens Head pub. He has run a caravan park and camping grounds there for the past 10 years and lives on the site.
Bray Studios backlot is opposite the front gate and the bedrooms of Ricky’s land, meaning that temporary structures like scaffolding are clearly visible to his punters.
“It’s not really a temporary structure when it’s going up for 10, 12 months at a time,” he said.
“A few of my customers have said ‘What is that?’ Inevitably that monstrosity will go up again, if they have a use for it. The campsite was quite picturesque before. It’s ruined the place, really.”
Though the studios has said that trees will be planted to shield the surrounding areas from the visual impact of its expansion, Ricky is sceptical.
“I doubt there’s a tree big enough to hide it, to be honest,” he said.
Another problem is the sound and light used for filming, which caused Ricky problems during the shoot of 2019 Elton John biopic, Rocketman.
“We had ‘Saturday Night’s Alright’ blaring out across the fields at all times, with enormous lighting rigs that look like spaceships landing,” he said.
“It’s one thing when (the music) goes on for a few hours, but when it’s a few weeks, it gets tedious.”
The late-night disturbance compelled Ricky to contact the studios.
“When I called them, they were apologetic and they did say they’d do something about it, but by the time they got back to me, they’d stopped filming anyway.”
Ricky is concerned that studio really has no motivation to warn him of night shoots, or to stop them for his sake.
So far, he says, the studio has not informed him or anything in advance.
He raised his concerns in a public consultation with the studios in June, which pledged to keep him abreast of any night-time filming or other ‘unusual activity’.
“It’s alright them telling me they’re going to film – what am I going to do about it, if I’ve got campers coming that weekend?” Ricky said.
“I’m scratching my head because I can’t see a solution. I am happy in part to see the studio come back to life but I’m not sure I want it at the cost to my livelihood.”
Bray Studios had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to print.
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