A DECISION by Stow traders to turn away the country's top film-makers who wanted to use the town square as a location for their next comedy - Hot Fuzz starring Timothy Dalton - may have been vindicated.

Working Title, who have made a series of hits including Bridge Jones' Diary and Notting Hill, approached the Town Council back in December, but Stow Business Association gave it a Gladiatorial thumbs down because they felt it would be disruptive.

The film company went to Wells in Somerset instead - but some of the traders there have now complained that the filming, which went on for six weeks, proved too disruptive to them.

The president of Wells Chamber of Commerce, Tony Everard, led a chorus of disapproval, even contacting Stow Town Council asking what they had known in advance of turning it down that Wells should have known.

The filming resulted in the loss of the city's main car park, run by Mendip District Council, which was taken over by the film crew, and the closure of the High Street.

But filming had to be extended because of bad weather, causing extra disruption.

Nonetheless, some of Wells business community have voted the chance of film stardom worthwhile. Sally Robertson, chairman of Wells Chamber of Commerce, said: "While it would be wrong not to acknowledge that there was disruption, we would like to think the longer-term benefits could outweigh any inconvenience or loss of revenue to our members.

"With the experience gained, no doubt logistics could be noticeably improved for any further shoots."

Stow Mayor, Alan Rose, said: "We turned the film company away but we weren't their first choice anyway. There were four towns on the shortlist. Traders decided that it would have been disruptive for the centre of town, but you could take the view that other people in other areas of the town might have welcomed it. It's not all about business.

"People are still going to Notting Hill in London looking for the famous blue door of the film - which was actually sold at auction at Christie's. The film made Notting Hill famous the World over."

Diane Kelly, spokeswoman for Working Title, would only say "the filming in Wells went very well".

Stow has some consolation - a crew from German television will be filming a piece about property prices in the area shortly.