A cliff-top drive-in cinema is set to be showing movies throughout the summer after being granted a licence to operate.

Wavelength Media had applied to Cornwall Council for a licence to operate the cinema from a field overlooking Watergate Bay.

The company had also applied to hold a three-day festival at the same site but this has been scrapped for 2021 and so it withdrew that part of the application.

Cornwall Council’s licensing act sub committee unanimously agreed to grant the licence when it met on Wednesday.

Under the proposals top movies will be shown on a big open-air screen from Thursday to Sunday from July 9 to September 5.

All screenings will be weather dependant and there could be multiple movies shown on each day. As well as the movies there will also be food and drink available for customers to buy.

An open air cinema had been operated by the same company last year using the same site used by the Boardmasters Festival which did not take place last year due to Covid-19.

However with Boardmasters being planned the operators had to find a new location and selected a field on the opposite side of Watergate Bay.

Wavelength Media said that they had worked closely with council officers to address any concerns which had been raised and put measures in place to improve the event.

They said that to address concerns about noise they would be using a system which would send the soundtrack for the films to people’s car stereos using FM signal.

And they said that they would have a rule that all people attending the films would have to arrive by car and would not allow anyone to attend on foot – this would address concerns about people accessing the site via the coast path.

Falmouth Packet:

Devon and Cornwall Police had originally had concerns about the application but all related to the festival element which had been withdrawn and so the police said they had no objections.

Public safety and environmental health officers from the council also said they were satisfied with the measures which had been put in place by the organisers to address concerns.

There had been objections to the application from Newquay Town Council and local Cornwall councillor John Fitter.

The town council said that they believed that the licence “will have a significant impact on the residents of Newquay” and raised concerns about public nuisance, noise, safety and traffic.

They said that they were concerned that up to 300 vehicles could arrive at the site at the same time which could block roads in Watergate Bay.

There were also concerns about the site being located close to the coast path which could pose a danger to visitors.

Cllr Fitter said that he was concerned that the drive-in cinema could disturb people who would be staying at a campsite opposite the location.

He said that he felt there was “a massive danger of public nuisance” and said he was also concerned about the need for the protection of children from harm.

Cllr Fitter said: “I do believe in actual fact there is going to be…however good the operators are, and I don’t in any way dispute the efficiency of the operators and they are responsible people and they wouldn’t dream of doing anything that would intentionally cause harm to children, but I can’t believe that we can control licensed activities to the extent that would prevent and allow children to be harmed.

“There will be a bar facility etc so the children will perhaps remain in the car, waiting for the film to start, who is supervising those children in the car waiting for the film to start? Who is making sure that we don’t have people with ulterior motives walking around and opening doors of cars to see who is inside and a young child is inside where the parents have gone to get drinks from the bar?

“No, I am sorry this is a recipe for in fact presenting a danger to children. This has not been identified enough and not been addressed in that manner.”

Falmouth Packet:

The operators from Wavelength Media said that they had provided a detailed event management plan which addressed all aspects of how the cinema would operate.

They addressed concerns about the exposed location of the site and said that the screen would be constructed so that it could withstand winds of up to 50mph without intervention and that with intervention could withstand winds of between 70mph and 80mph.

In addition they said that all screenings would be weather dependant and would be prepared to cancel or delay if necessary. They highlighted that last year they had to cancel some events due to wind and fog.

Addressing concerns about traffic they said that they hoped that visitors would not all want to leave at the end of a film and that there would be food and drink available which would encourage them to stay a while and leave in a staggered approach to ease congestion.

They also said that there would be security staff working on site and other staff would help with traffic management for vehicles driving on and off the site.

The organisers said that the cinema would help boost the local economy with £200,000 being spent with local suppliers both on and off site and £150,000 expected to be generated by on-site trade.

They also said that local people would be employed to work at the events throughout the summer.

The licensing committee said in granting the licence that they had considered all the concerns and took them into account when making their decision.

They also said that the “comprehensive” event management plan had helped to provide assurance that the events would be run safely and responsibly.