Plans for a huge new drive in cinema at Drayton Manor have been unveiled – with room for up to 500 cars.
Planning permission for change of use of a car park and installation of a film screen, toilets and other ancillary facilities have been submitted to Lichfield District Council.
It is anticipated the drive-in cinema at the theme park near Tamworth would operate a total of three film showings per day during the week and a total of four showings per day at weekends and on bank holidays at The Ley Field.
The site is currently utilised as a car and coach park to the north west of Drayton Manor Hotel to serve daytime theme park visitors and holds in excess of 1,200 vehicles.
The proposed change of use for 18 months would result in a maximum of 500 vehicles being situated within the car park for each film showing through staggered parking.
The application reads: “As with many businesses in the leisure sector, Drayton Manor Park has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The closure of the Park in March 2020 and the social distancing rules required to be in place since the park reopened in early July 2020 have had a severe impact on operations.
“Drayton Manor Park currently supports 461 jobs in a mixture of full-time and part-time roles at the Park itself, in catering and at the hotel. This represents 239 fewer jobs compared to before the pandemic.
“Since the Park re-opened in July 2020 it has had 264,509 visitors. This is significantly lower than would be expected under normal operating conditions.
“Due to social distancing measures, the Park is only able to operate at 50% capacity, meaning a maximum of around 5,000 visitors per day can come to Drayton Manor Park.
“In light of the reduction in visitors, Drayton Manor Park is seeking to explore additional enterprise opportunities in the short term that can be supported by the current site infrastructure on offer.
“Such additional enterprise opportunities include the temporary change of use of the Ley Fields car park to provide a drive in cinema facility.”
The application added: “It is anticipated that the drive-in cinema would operate a total of three film showings per day during the week and a total of four showings per day at weekends and on bank holidays subject to compatible film lengths and demand.
“Once fully operational, the drive-in cinema will have a total capacity of 500 cars. However, it is unrealistic to assume that the facility will be at capacity all the time.
“No permanent changes to Ley Field are proposed with a temporary screen to be erected to the north western extent of the site, alongside a generator to provide a source of power.
“Additional temporary W.C. facilities will be located to the south eastern extent of the site, adjacent to existing W.C. facilities, as shown on the submitted Layout Plan.”
Lichfield District Council planners will now decide on the proposals and consider any objections, with a decision expected by the summer.