Saffron Walden Town Council

Film and Photography Policy

 Filming and Photography Policy

As adopted Assets & Services Committee October 2016

 Introduction to Policy:

 A number of open spaces owned or managed by the Town Council are used both privately and commercially by a number of individuals, groups and organisations. 

 This policy does not seek to address the use of photography, cameras or filming in any private capacity and Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places.  The police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel and the police’s powers are covered under appropriate laws and legislations

This policy seeks to manage and control the commercial use of filming and photography in areas within the Town Council’s management and/or ownership.  Areas of particular regard include Bridge End Gardens (BEG)  and The Common. BEG in particular has been used several times recently for commercial filming and it is therefore appropriate to have a policy in place which seeks to protect the Town Council and members of the public.

  Filming and Photographic Policy

Saffron Walden Town Council owns or manages a number of buildings and public open spaces which provide ideal locations for filming or photography and we welcome requests from organisations and groups to use them for this purpose. 

All projects planned for filming in those areas managed by Saffron Walden Town Council require permission and, with the exception of schools, charitable organisations and news bulletins, a fee is applicable.

 Road Closures / Filming on Highways

You will need permission for road closures and may need to pay a fee for this, a fee may also be payable for the use of any car parks. 

Highways are managed by two different authorities being:

Essex County Council who can be contacted on 0345 603 7631 or

Uttlesford District Council who can be contacted on 0179  510510

Any filming next to the highway would need to permission from Essex Highways and road closures are ordinarily managed by Uttlesford District Council. Often there is a minimum notice period for road closures and works on the highway which could be as much as 12 weeks.

You will also need to obtain permission from Essex Police for any filming which may take place on or interfere with the highways.

Filming considerations and permissions

We'll help you with your project but the following are your responsibility:

  • No cables on the highway.
  • Don't obstruct the public highway including footpaths
  • Don't block fire exits or entrances into buildings
  • Ask permission to film any frontage of shops/businesses. 
  • Keep the amount of staff / actors to a minimum at any one time
  • If filming on / in private property or land, ask permission of the landowners
  • Seek permissions from any other 3rd parties, including Essex Highways and Essex Police where appropriate

We are unable to grant permission for buildings or outdoor spaces owned by 3rd parties, including those owned by Uttlesford District Council.  Please contact the respective owners or managers of these areas for details of restrictions or permissions.  This procedure deals only with those areas under the direct ownership or management of Saffron Walden Town Council

Procedure and Fees – Filming and Photography

 When film, video or photographic activity is proposed for public locations in Saffron Walden in locations which are the responsibility of the Town Council, please write to us with your request providing the following:

  1. Details of how, what, where, when, why, who and how many
  2. A Purchase Order
  3. Details of film-maker’s public liability insurance
  4. Risk assessment associated with the proposed activities
  5. Confirmation that the local police have been informed. Telephone: 101
  6. Confirmation that highway users will at no time be obstructed or distracted
  7. An address for invoice should an admin fee be required
  8. Confirmation that any Highways permissions have been sought

 Details should be forwarded by email to before permission can be considered.

 If the proposed activities are sufficiently complex, extensive or sensitive to necessitate the presence of a Town Council representative, an admin fee will be required and levied at an additional cost of £50.00 per hour.  Exclusive use of filming in outdoor spaces will not ordinarily be granted and the facility will remain open to the public. 

 Filming in residential areas is problematic and this would need to be discussed further with the relevant authority, ie either Uttlesford District Council or Essex County Council.

 Notice must also be given if there is a risk that filming might incorporate images of the public, particularly children.

 Filming on private property or when using buildings as a backdrop, the owner’s permission must be sought and all necessary arrangements made with them. Often a location fee is required for this in addition to any payable to the Town Council.

 Whilst we can be flexible we do require at least 1 weeks’ notice to process a filming or photography application.

 Current Charges:

Filming up to 4 hours

£  50.00 & VAT

Filming between 4 and 8 hours

£100.00 & VAT

Commercial photography up to 4 hours

£  50.00 & VAT

Commercial photograpy between 4 and 8 hours

£100.00 & VAT

Fees for longer periods of filming or commercial photography are available on request

 All Community and student filming and photography projects may still require appropriate permissions but are offered on a free of charge basis. Please apply using the same process for commercial permissions. 

The Town Council will not permit the following filming:

  1. Any filming displaying nudity or lewd behaviour
  2. Any filming which may reasonably cause distress, upset, harm or danger to any reasonable person or which the Town Council considers otherwise inappropriate.

Should your filming be permitted, you will receive a written confirmation from us along with an invoice for payment which should be paid within 30 days of the invoice date (irrespective of when your filming is due to take place).

You should carry the permission from the Town Council with you when filming and be prepared to produce this upon request by any Town Council official.

Permission to film does not itself give endorsement of the filming, the company or of the activity by the Town Council.  This process merely seeks to confirm that permissions have been obtained for filming,   videoing and photography in land or property in the management of the Town Council.

The Town Council requests that any filming or photography is credited as follows “filmed on location with kind permission of Saffron Walden Town Council”

The following is provided for help, information and guidance.  The Town Council does not take responsibility for any of the back ground information further provided and it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure compliance with any other appropriate rules, law, regulations or protocols.

The following extract is taken from the British Film Commissioning:

Filming in public spaces

Local authority

If you want to film on public land you will need permission from the appropriate local authority or council. They are responsible for public land, public buildings, roads and parking. The UK screen agencies can help you get in touch with the appropriate local authority contact.


You will need the full co-operation of the local police force if you plan to film on a public highway or use special effects, explosives or fire arms (including replicas). You will also need permission to portray uniformed police officers or marked police vehicles on film.

You should inform the local police force in writing of any planned filming within its jurisdiction. The UK screen agencies can help you arrange this process.

Filming on public roads

Before filming on a public road you must contact the local police and the Highways Department of the local authority. Both will need to make sure that your plans are safe and pose no threat to road users. If you plan to stage stunts, a stunt Co-ordinator should be involved in any planning discussions.

You will need details of the safety conditions covering any tracking vehicles you hire and also find out what permissions and rights clearances have been granted at the location – for example, are you entitled to film the signage on any commercial premises in the area?

Advice about permission and Rights clearances

If you film an actor inside a store or restaurant, you need written permission to use the location and also to show the chain’s name or trademark.

If you film outside a store or restaurant you do not need permission to show its name or trademark – however, if the location chosen is used to communicate a negative message in your film (for example, a film about ‘poisoned restaurant food’) you may risk legal proceedings.

You do not need to ask passers-by for permission to feature their faces in a film. Under UK law, the copyright of film shot in a public place resides with the filmmaker.