A Southwark Council cabinet member has been criticised for an “insulting gesture” after they offered a £600 donation to a group while addressing their opposition to Southwark Park being used by a production company.
The council approved plans for the park to be used from June 23 for four days as a production hub while the second season of Netflix’s sci-fi series Sense8 is filmed.
But The Friends of Southwark Park group has strongly objected to the plans as they claim it would see 70 vehicles arrive early in the morning and leave late at night at the park, causing disruption.
In an email seen by the News a Southwark Council Cabinet Member addressed the group’s concerns before adding that “there is also due to be a donation of £600 to the Friends”.
Pat Kingwell, secretary of The Friends of Southwark Park, reacted: “I personally find it an insulting gesture and a complete misunderstanding of the aims and values of our group.
“We do what we do to protect, enhance and promote the park, not to take money from an activity we disagree with. What sort of friends of the park would that make us?”
Southwark Council gave permission to the production company to use the park as they believed the “filming opportunity outweigh the down sides”.
Councillor Johnson Situ, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Employment and Culture, said: “I fully appreciate the Friends’ concerns and as a result of these we have considered whether there are any other options available to move this facility.
“I know the Friends will be disappointed that we have not found any other options, but even so we believe that the benefits of the filming opportunity outweigh the down sides.
“By facilitating the production team, we’re able to secure investment to contribute towards improving and maintaining Southwark Park and other arts and culture projects for the wider community, such as Bermondsey Carnival.
“The production base will be contained within a relatively small section of the park, so visitors can enjoy the park as normal. We’ve also put measures in place to limit disruption as much as possible.
“All vehicles associated with the filming will arrive before the park opens and leaving late in the evening and film unit traffic marshals will be monitoring vehicles within the site.”