‘Prosecco in the park’ film event in Chichester approved

ks190218-5 Scenics Week 16  phot kate 'Enjoying the sunshine in Priory Park.190218-5 SUS-190421-221340008
ks190218-5 Scenics Week 16 phot kate 'Enjoying the sunshine in Priory Park.190218-5 SUS-190421-221340008

Plans to hold a ‘Prosecco in the park’ event where a number of open-air films will be shown in Chichester have been given the go-ahead.

Arena Sports Live is planning to hold the paid-for event in Priory Park from Friday September 27 to Sunday September 29.

The company applied for a permanent premises licence to show films on a big screen, sell alcohol and play recorded music so it could return on one weekend every summer.

However Chichester District Council’s alcohol and licensing sub-committee decided to grant a one-year licence only on Thursday (July 24).

Councillors explained that once the impact of this year’s event is understood a licence over a longer period could be considered.

Before making a decision they heard concerns from residents living nearby about potential noise and disruption in the park.

But Mandy Biddle, from Arena Sports Live, said the event was designed to be fun, relaxed and family friendly and should not be compared to the ice rink or Oktoberfest.

She added: “This is a family friendly event. We have not received any complaints about nuisance, behaviour or alcohol-fuelled crime associated with any of our events previously.”

Films due to be shown include Dirty Dancing, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, Incredibles 2 and Eddie The Eagle.

Prosecco will be on sale along with craft beer, five street food outlets and coffee and aqua bars.

The organisers are also encouraging families to bring picnics with them.

There would also be a family games area with football goals, basketball and volleyball nets and garden jenga.

Philip Robinson, chairman of the Friends of Priory Park, said his major concern was about the protection of children. He raised a scenario where parents could leave children at the event in the evening giving them the opportunity to procure alcohol in the park.

He said: “Our concern is with young adolescents potentially drinking in the park.”

But Ms Biddle said child welfare would be a priority. Bar staff would be trained and no alcohol would be served to underage children.

Meanwhile Martyn Bell, district and city councillor for Chichester Central, argued that the park was not suitable for this type of event, given it was surrounded by densely packed residential properties.

He said: “My main concern is this is an alcohol-led event.”

Organisers described it as a film event and not an alcohol-led event, despite its name.

Another objector Brian Dean raised concerns about the event’s potential impact on the cricket pitch’s grass outfield.

Ms Biddle said they took photos before arriving and would ensure the park is completely restored to the same condition after the event.

One of the other main concerns was about the level of noise from the films played on the big screen.

Council officers suggested they did not currently have sufficient information about how the applicant would keep the noise levels to an acceptable level for residents.

Ms Biddle said they would ‘meet whatever the requirements are’.