CHESHIRE has become the first nationally recognised ‘Filming Friendly’ county in the North West.

Councilors from Halton, Warrington and Cheshire's East and West authorities signed a charter to make filming in the area easier.

This will include helping directors select filming locations and working closely with local business.

Cheshire councilors will be assisted by North West company Vision+Media to ensure the needs of directors are met, while ensuring minimal disruption to local trade.

Kaye Elliott from Vision+Media said: “Cheshire is a county with a rich source of filming locations. Last year, Cheshire supported 130 filming days at an estimated value to the county of nearly £3 million.”

Earlier this month, Frodsham screen writer Tim Firth came to Chester to film the new British romantic comedy The Wedding Video staring TV comics Robert Webb and Rufus Hound.

The film, written by Firth, has many scenes being shot in Chester, including by the river, Chester Races and the city centre.

The Calendar Girls creator said: “When it comes to being a ‘filming friendly' county, Cheshire has done its bit by being beautiful.

“The challenge for any liaison authority will be to find practical and financial incentives to offer low-budget companies - goodwill and coffee alone is not enough, no matter how beautiful the county.”

It is hoped more UK film makers will be tempted to bring their productions to the area, boosting trade and lift the county's profile though ‘film tourism’ - the trend of viewers seeking out the locations they see on film and TV.

Bob Clough-Parker, secretary of Chester Business Club, said: “This is potentially a ‘win-win’ for the business community throughout Cheshire, not least here in Chester.

“There will be the direct benefits in terms of extra business for hotels, bars, restaurants and shops, as well as the indirect benefits of Chester/Cheshire being featured on-screen – an important and positive marketing aspect attracting new tourism and visitor business.”