October 23 2014 Latest news:
By Nick Gill
Friday, November 30, 2012
COUNCILLORS have been told of a film company’s plans to drive over Britain’s first roundabout.
District councillors in Letchworth GC were shocked to discover that the roundabout which connects Broadway and Spring Road with Sollershott East and West could be driven over as part of filming for The World’s End, a feature film starring Hollywood actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
North Herts District Council’s (NHDC) community development officer Claire Morgan, speaking at a Letchworth GC area committee last week, said funding had become available to renovate the roundabout – believed to have been built in 1909 – as part of a project involving Letchworth In Bloom.
Ms Morgan added: “The other reason is it is going to be part of the filming. The film company has been told it can drive across it so we’re taking that opportunity to put new shrubs in.”
Area committee chairman Cllr David Levett admitted the news had come as “a little bit of a surprise” while Cllr David Kearns said councillors should have been informed.
He said: “We shouldn’t allow film companies – and I don’t care if it’s directed by Steven Spielberg or whoever – to do what they want without asking the council first.”
Responding, John Robinson, NHDC’s strategic director of customer services, said: “Possible plans to film at the site of the UK’s first roundabout were discussed by council officers and the location manager on a confidential basis several weeks ago. When the Letchworth area committee met last week, there were still a number of issues that needed to be resolved before filming at the roundabout could take place. The leader, and then members of the area committee, would have been briefed as soon as the position became clear.
“The officer who was asked for further information at the area committee has not been directly involved in issues relating to the film, so would not have been aware of the ongoing nature of these discussions when providing councillors with a response.”
Mr Robinson added that the roundabout would be fully restored at the film company’s expense and replanted “for the benefit of the local area”.
Filming for The World’s End, which is based on childhood friends taking part in an epic pub crawl, continued this week ahead of an August 2013 release with crews in the town centre during the afternoon and evening.
The Broadway Cinema in Eastcheap became The Mermaid, while the Thai Garden restaurant in Gernon Road was turned into The Beehive.
Posting a message on social networking site Twitter, Simon Pegg said: “It’s not as rainy in Letchworth tonight. Big love and thanks to the lovely townsfolk, agreeing to go without xmas lights for a bit. I<3LGC”.