A DRIVE-IN cinema and marquee restaurant could pop up in Lymington this summer under plans endorsed by the town council.
The proposals by Lymington-based company Onyx Events could see films shown in the lower field at Woodside park during the first week of August and a pop-up marquee restaurant at Bath Road recreation ground for up to a month.
Bligh Julius of Onyx Events said his company had been working with Brand Events to promote a socially distanced in-car cinema and dining experience for up to 150 vehicles.
He told the town council’s amenities committee that admission would be £17.50 per adult and £5.50 per child, and attendees would be encouraged to buy food from a menu created by TV chef Tom Kerridge.
He said: “Our industry was the first to go and it will probably be the last to come back. We need to think outside the box.”
Mr Julius said Onyx Events had decided to partner with a larger company as it could not risk the financial outlay of organising and promoting as a relatively small firm.
However, he said that under the agreement, virtually all staff would be local, creating work and income for the local events industry.
Cllr Martina Humber said: “This is afternoons and evenings for seven days – that is a lot for the residents of Woodside to cope with. A week seems a bit over-the-top to me. Three days would be better.”
Questions were raised about the financial incentive for the town council. Mr Julius said Brand Events “would be open to making some form of payment” if the event was profitable.
Town clerk Louise Young said the normal weekly fee for a use of Woodside for a commercial venture would be around £1,300.
The second proposal for a pop-up marquee on Bath Road recreation ground would operate throughout August and allow local pubs and restaurants to make use of an outdoor dining space, Mr Julius said.
Pointing to the Kings Head in Lymington, Mr Bligh said: “They have very little outdoor space so we want to be sure we are approaching the right businesses to give them that lease of life that may help them survive 2020.”
It was suggested that sessions could run from 11am to 4pm and 5pm to 10pm with a maximum of 200 people per sitting.
Mr Julius said: “We have based it on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday sessions – it would not operate the rest of the time. We may still have a kitchen and a marquee but everything else would be non-existent.”
Councillors agreed to support both sets of plans pending further negotiations with the town clerk.
A spokesperson for Onyx Events said a final decision about whether the drive-in cinema would go ahead had not yet been taken, as talks were still ongoing with Brand Events.
She added that further details of the restaurants taking part in the pop-up dining marquee would be available next week.