A filming grant intended for the Batgirl production in Glasgow should be paid out to businesses forced to endure road closures and a drop in footfall for the now axed film, it has been suggested.

Local firms said they felt “disregarded” as filming took priority over their business' viability – which has now been labelled as a “waste of time”, reports our sister title The Herald. 

Filmed entirely in Glasgow earlier this year, the superhero film starring Leslie Grace will not be released in cinemas and HBO Max as planned – despite weeks of disruption faced by both residents and city centre businesses.

READ MORE: Glasgow City Council provide update on £150k grant after Batgirl film binned

Warner Bros said the decision comes due to a “leadership's strategic shift”, but reports suggested it received poor reviews during screen-testing.

 In September 2021, Glasgow City Council confirmed it would provide the company with a £150,000 grant to incentivise them to base the entire production in the city, claiming it will create hundreds of jobs and increase the opportunity for future projects “of a similar scale”.

The council has now confirmed the grant has still not been paid to Warner Bros and discussions are ongoing with producers.

Nick Williams, assistant manager of bar and restaurant 13th Note on King Street, suggested the council grant should be “dished out to the businesses affected” by production.

Glasgow Times:

He said: “It made it really difficult to get to this part because the streets were shut. Basically, we were empty on the days that the filming was on.

“The compensation wasn’t enough to cover the losses for the two or three weeks that they were here.

“It seems like a kick in the balls that now it is all cancelled. It was just a waste of time and we lost so much business because of it.”

Mr Williams said that the severity of the disruption was not communicated properly to the businesses in the area.

He added: “It’s good to have things filmed but there should be more compensation for the businesses affected and better organisation for access.

“There wasn’t a lot of information about how much upheaval it would be.”

On nearby Osborne Street, independent bakery Plantyful was forced to reduce staff hours after an entire month of disruption despite promises the street would not be affected.

Owner Aimee Jackson said the entire street was blocked off and portable loos were set up right outside the bakery’s door.

She added: “There was a generator for a few days during that period just running non-stop with fumes just coming in. It got really hard for us to work and to keep the door open.

“It was a really bad month. Completely devastating,” she added.

“We had to lay off our team here, we tried to give them as many hours as we could at our other location but obviously there were limited opportunities for us to give them the same type of hours that they would have.”

READ MORE: Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken reacts to Batgirl being scrapped

Glasgow Times:

Ms Jackson claimed that there was not enough communication with businesses and that they were forced to sign off on it before realising how “drastic” it would be.

“The compensation probably wouldn’t even last us the first week let alone the other three weeks, but there is little room to negotiate once they have set up and they have made their agreements with the council,” she added.

The timing also posed difficulty to businesses after months of coping with Covid lockdowns.

“Sales were already down, it is one of the hardest months of the year and then they set up shop for a whole month,” she added. “I feel small businesses were just really disregarded in the whole month.”

Waxing salon Peaches on Parnie Street featured in the film itself and had to close as they dressed the exterior to fit into Gotham city – it meant they had to rebook clients and rearrange parts of their interior.

 Speaking about Batgirl not being released, owner Kerriann Angus said: “I was a bit disappointed to hear that, especially because so much money has gone into it. 

“For me as a business, who has struggled through Covid and is still impacted by it, I’m a bit miffed.”

Meanwhile, seeing thousands being held for a grant for a major production made her feel as if local businesses are not “valued”.

She said: “Since Covid, we have reached out to the council numerous times for support and that £150,000 could have gone to the economy within the city rather than a film that is now not going to get shown.

“That’s a bit of a sore one for us.”

“When you hear things like that, you feel like you are not valued as a business that has been here since 2013.”

Glasgow Times: Leslie Grace on set of BatgirlLeslie Grace on set of Batgirl

Glasgow City Council claimed that the production brought "significant" benefit to the economy. 

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “The filming of Batgirl brought a very significant economic benefit to Glasgow when the production was here, with 450 Glasgow-based crew jobs, almost 1300 Scottish supporting artists, and many subcontractors working as tradespeople and in traffic management and security. 

“Any decision on the release of the production is very much a matter for Warner Bros.  The £150,000 grant support has not been paid, and discussions continue with the producers.”