A shopping centre built in partnership with a city council five years ago has banned a councillor from taking pictures of the buildingu2019s ceiling and walls.

Picture credit: Kevin Price

Kevin Price, a keen photographer and a Labour councillor in Cambridge, has branded the Grand Arcade’s photography policy ‘bizarre’ and said he may take the matter up with council colleagues.

Councillor Price, 55, said he had visited the privately run centre on 13 August to take a few shots as part of ‘366′ – a photography project that involves taking pictures, daily, during the leap year and posting them on Facebook.

Speaking to Amateur Photographer (AP), Price said a staff member told him pictures of the centre’s structure were prohibited and threatened to throw him out if he persisted.

‘It’s so over the top, ridiculous… and annoying. I had been out with my Canon EOS 550D taking a few shots of ceilings,’ said Price.

This was the first time he had taken photos in the shopping centre.

The photography enthusiast, who serves as councillor in the King’s Hedges ward of the city, told AP that he could see no signs warning him against such photography.

‘I absolutely love getting out and about with my camera – anywhere [now] apart from shopping centres,’ added Price, who works as a porter at one of the University colleges in the city.

The Grand Arcade’s general manager, John O’Shea, told AP: ‘Grand Arcade has a no photography policy in place to ensure the interests of public safety are upheld at all times.

‘The retail shopping centre is private property and has a duty of care to its retailers, which have individual policies relating to the use of their images, shop fronts and signage.

‘Should members of the public wish to take photographs within Grand Arcade, the centre is happy to review each request on an individual basis with prior notice.

‘It should also be noted that we do look to use our discretion with regards to people taking pictures of their friends and family, Christmas decorations and in-centre events.’

The Grand Arcade is a partnership between Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and private companies, according to a press release issued by planners in September 2004.

There has been a mixed reaction from locals since an article first appeared in Cambridge News.

  • chris

    Bullying little small minded management.
    “Safety of the public”
    Nasty example of the UK Private Corporation Style that we see more and more these days.
    I would not buy anything from Arcade.
    The recent storm,flooded the Arcade,so all money could not protect the public,better call the architects guys.
    Avoid this nasty organisation.

  • Martin

    The “mixed reaction” you link to on the Cambridge News site is interesting. Those who support the shopping centre are clearly not photographers and don’t understand *why* people take photos. In the future, when the shopping centre has been demolished and people interested in local history want to know what early 21st century Cambridge looked like, all they’ll be able to find is bland publicity photos taken by/for the centre itself. Manufactured history. Makes me sick.

  • Chris

    Although open to the public, the centre is clearly private property. I live near Bluewater and Lakeside and both have the same stance. However, going through proper channels and asking gets you a permit as long as the centre is satisfied about certain aspects.
    We seem to forget that although we are innocent photographers there have been and are many that appear to be innocent photographers who are taking ‘surveillance’ photographs for terrorist ends.
    Follow the centres rules and you get a lot further

  • a.b.scott

    Rather sad that this person is in control of a shopping centre!!!

  • robert

    So we have public money spent on a project which is a public use building. umm, and why then can it not be photographed when I and others have in effect paid for the building or part of it.
    If they are worried about offending people, perhaps they need to stand by the car park pay points when people get shocked at the price. Although off topic. Its a case of rules for rules sake.

  • Ron Graves

    Might be annoying, but it’s private property and they’re within their rights to prevent anybody taking photographs, but might I suggest that a smartphone would have been far more discreet than a camera.

  • Michael Wilkinson

    Its private property and the owners can make what rules they like, its clear cut.
    Don’t shop there if you don’t like the policy and get to know the law councillor before making waves.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    The Leicester Highcross and Derby Westfield shopping centres both ban photography. I’ve tried and been rebuffed.

    I don’t believe ‘No photography’ signs are on display.

  • john jones

    what a crock of sh…?
    they take photos of us on CCTV all the time in shopping center,s