Surrey's Bourne Wood film location disruption fears

Scene from the film Gladiator
Image caption Gladiator included some scenes shot in Bourne Wood

Woodland in Surrey where scenes for cinema blockbusters have been shot could become a long-term filming site, under Forestry Commission plans.

Gladiator, The Golden Compass, Robin Hood and War Horse all included scenes filmed at Bourne Wood in Farnham.

The Forestry Commission wants to allow filming for up to eight months a year. It said the site was a nationally strategic film industry resource.

Residents fear disruption, including noise and smoke from explosions.

Tony Patterson, a committee member of the Bourne Residents' Association, said residents were not opposed to filming but had concerns if activities became long-term.

'Noise and explosions'

He said some areas of the woodland had been turned into hard standing for parking of vehicles and this was now "virtually a permanent situation".

The plans had suggested that impact on residents would be minor or temporary, he added.

But he said many people would argue noise, explosions and smoke were not minor impacts.

Mr Patterson also said more filming would "almost inevitably" lead to more building on the site, more closures of the woodland, and frequent disruption in the form of noise, smoke and traffic.

The Forestry Commission wants to change the use of the site from forestry to ongoing forestry with filming activity.

Image caption The site near Farnham has been used to make films including The Golden Compass

It issued a statement which said filming at Bourne Wood ensured millions of pounds of film production money stayed in the UK rather than going to forests in eastern Europe or the Far East.

Studies had shown filming in Surrey was worth £73m per year to the local economy, the statement added.

The statement said the Forestry Commission had submitted a "scoping determination" to Waverley council ahead of a planning application and was waiting to hear whether a full environmental impact assessment was required.

The Forestry Commission was meeting residents and a local consultation day had been planned, it added.

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