Traders furious as filming set to disrupt Lewes High Street

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TIMES of the filming of an advert in Lewes High Street tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon were changed afer the location manager met furious traders yesterday (Thursday) evening.

Bays between Station Road and Westgate Street were to be suspended from 3pm to 10pm, stop and go signs at the traffic lights will hold drivers up for two minutes at a time and pedestrians are to be marshaled while filming goes ahead.

But this was postponed until 4pm, with filming to start at 5pm after Carl Fairall talked to business owners at the Lewes Arms.

Traders and residents, who had not been consulted or informed, flooded the Sussex Express with complaints about loss of trade on the busiest Saturday of the month, with the Farmers’ Market and Proms in the Paddock all-day festival taking place.

Ali Kahir, owner of the Shanaz restaurant, said: “I am disgusted that I will lose hundreds in trade.

“Two weeks ago I lost near enough £1,200 due to the road closures in Lewes.”

Paul Clark, of Paul Clark Clothiers, said discussions were held with the county council and Lewes Chamber of Commerce but traders were not informed and only a minority belonged to the chamber.

“I only found out when I saw the sign,” he said. “3pm on Saturday is the golden hour for our shop and I can’t get any answers about who is responsible.”

Mr Fairall said ‘significant donations’ were being made to various residents associations and organisations.

“Even though I’ve consulted with town, district and county councils, the Highways Agency, Lewes Chamber of Commerce and the police; it’s clear that this has not been enough,” he said.

“The ‘buck’ should stop with me unfortunately, so I apologise.”

Kate Hook, secretary of the chamber of commerce, said they were only informed after permission had been given and ‘did not take it upon themselves to inform traders’.

They had gained a £200 donation to spend on something traders in that section of town wanted.

In response to district Cllr Stephen Catlin, Rupert Clubb, county director of economy and transport, said Saturday was the only day the American actor involved was available, as he left the country on Sunday.

“The film company were informed, as promoters of this event, it was their responsibility to contact and notify traders,” he said.

Filming started today at Paddock Road.