Concerns voiced about film shoot

Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce in Outlaw King.
Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce in Outlaw King.

Fears of disruption and possible loss of trade have been raised ahead of filming for the movie Outlaw King in Berwick.

Preparations for the Netflix film, starring Chris Pine in the title role, will start in earnest over the next few days before filming takes place on Monday and Tuesday, October 9 and 10.

The potential long-term benefits of the film in terms of raising the town’s profile have been acknowledged, but concerns remain about its short-term impact.

David Thompson, who runs Berwick boat trips from the quayside, will have to cease business during the two days of filming.

Several road closures are planned, and parking restrictions will also be in place.

“I think it’s going to have a major impact on us,” he said.

“We rely heavily on footfall coming down to the quayside, perhaps 60% of our trade, and that’s going to be severely curtailed by the various restrictions that are going to be in place.”

His wife Pamela added: “I hope the film will encourage more tourists to visit the town, but we’re going to take a short-term hit.”

The Lookout cafe, only opened on the quayside last week, is closing for two-and-a-half weeks. However, its proprietor, Lily Barnes, said: “I think it’s a good thing for helping to promote the town. Hopefully it being the location for a film will bring more business to the Quayside.”

The Lookout has been offered compensation, but Berwick Boat Trips has not.

Berwick Chamber of Trade is taking the longer-term view that the film could boost visitor numbers.

Stephen Scott, its secretary, said: “The filming will inevitably bring a little disruption, particularly as it will create parking problems in some areas of the town.

“However, we feel this is a price worth paying for the publicity and for the boost the town will receive.”

“Most importantly, let us all enjoy our bit of the limelight.”

The film focuses on the year 1308 when Robert the Bruce is made an outlaw by the English. The Quayside is being turned into the Port of Glasgow, while the Old Bridge will be London Bridge.