South London estate residents bar filming


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The Independent Online

Residents of an infamous council estate that became a favourite location for film and television directors portraying urban decay have banned it from appearing on screen again unless it is depicted in a positive light.

The maze of concrete walkways among the Aylesbury and Heygate housing estates in south London have appeared in Spooks and The Bill. Its sprawling tower blocks and low-rise flats were also the setting for the movies Harry Brown and Attack the Block, and it still appears on a Channel 4 trailer.

But the people who call it home have decided it is time to stop its reputation being dragged through the gutter. After a series of complaints, Southwark Council has produced a strict set of rules to prevent it being used as the basis of any more negative storylines.

Jean Bartlett, of the Aylesbury Residents and Tenants Association, said she and her neighbours were frustrated at it continually being shown as a "hell-hole" of "violence, drugs and run-down areas".

At first they welcomed the attention because it brought community funding, she told the BBC, but the Channel 4 advert has become a particular source of frustration. "Every time I see the logo it makes me cringe. They put washing hanging out in areas that doesn't even have washing. They put loads of rubbish across the whole of the area. It's absolutely terrible."

"I think that over time time it was the same subjects being used," she added. "I don't want to see any filming on the Aylesbury that portrays violence and all the things that are not right for the estate."

Its attraction for directors is sure to wane in the coming years in any case, however, as it is gradually demolished as part of a 15-year redevelopment programme.