War has broken out between the Dad’s Army production company and Old Town businesses who say they were let down after filming on their street.
A number of shops on High Street had been closed in November last year so film crews could prepare the area for filming the feature length movie.
The affected businesses were paid for the use of their premises, but not for any loss of business despite claiming a member of production staff indicated they would be.
Michael Lawrence, who both lives and owns an antique shop on High Street, said his ordeal was so severe it forced his wife to move out while she was recovering from cancer.
“I didn’t want to upset the filming,” he said, “so I haven’t spoken about it until now.
“I spoke to a senior member of the film crew who told me he would ‘look after me’. He had originally told me my home would only be affected between the period of the 13th November and the 18th of November.
“He then came back to me with a contract which stated work would actually take place between 6 and 24 November.
“When I asked him why the dates had changed he indicated it was so they could start any painting on the front of my building and would not effect my business.”
“But the next day on the 6th of November, workmen came straight into my house and said they needed to begin working.
“They said the contract actually started on the 6th and I didn’t want to interfere so they began to pack everything up into boxes, including my valuable antiques.
“I had also agreed with the location manager that no drilling should be done to the outside of my house. He said they would use a form of ‘blue-tack’ to fix signs and props to the outside, but they drilled holes anyway.
“For the first four days the front door was kept wide open which meant we were unable to keep my home warm. My wife had to leave and stay with relatives in Liverpool while she was recovering with cancer.”
Michael also claimed staff broke the handle of his highly valuable antique Victorian foot bath.
Another business owner on High Street, who wished not to be named, added: “The Dad’s Army people came along with a representative. We are only a small business and our claim was only for £600 which was very reasonable.”
In a letter to the affected businesses, the senior crew member said: “The producers have listened with some concern to my accounts of the reduction in revenue some businesses have reported to me, and they have asked for those in that position to write to them so then can respond in detail.”
The film’s co-producer then wrote to Mr Lawrence and other businesses, saying: “With regards to compensation for any loss of business I refer you to DA Productions’ letter of 17 December 2014. We are not in a position to pay beyond what has been contractually agreed for the use of your properties.”
But speaking to the Free Press, he added: “Loss of trade payments were never part of the operation.”
When asked whether staff had begun installing screen in Mr Lawrence’s home before the originally mentioned date, he added: “That’s not correct. I can’t remember the details. I can’t remember what the dates were.
“He has got the wrong end of the stick and he keeps whacking it.”
DA Productions would not comment on the matter.