Chester-based arts organisation Storyhouse is seeking a new venue for its Halloween Drive-In event, due to take place at Chester FC’s Deva Stadium later this month.
And the reason why takes the proverbial.
Due to what is being described as ‘toilet-gate’, Storyhouse is now locked in a race against time to secure a new venue because the Welsh border goes through the middle of the car park at the football stadium.
“Why is that important,” we hear you ask.
Here’s why: Flintshire police say they will have to enforce border restrictions for the drive-in, and that means the toilets (which are technically in Wales. Yes, you read that correctly.) would therefore no longer be accessible to movie-goers attending the event.
“We could just about do it in England, but the loos are still in Wales,” say Storyhouse bosses.
CEO Andrew Bentley explains: “It turns out the border goes through the middle of the car park but the screen is mostly in Wales.
“We are already having to refund our customers who live in Wales as cinema is part of their circuit breaker.
“However, customers who live in England are also to be banned from straying into the wrong bit of the car park to watch the film, and Flintshire police say they will enforce at the event.”
He adds: “You’d need scale a decent sized fence to get further into Wales, and you don’t leave England to get to the Stadium.
“We could try to squeeze the screen into the smaller English side of the car park, but the loos are still in Wales so our customers are going to be caught short, or just caught at the border.
“There obviously was a common-sense accommodation that could have been applied however we can find the humour in these dark days and don’t want to make anyone’s life harder than it already is.”
Mr Bentley concludes: “We’ll probably need to cancel the event due to restrictions in Wales, which is a shame because of course drive-in is a super safe way to find enjoyment at the moment.”
All those who’ve booked tickets for Moonlight Drive have been contacted via email to update them of the situation.
Inspector Stephen Roberts from North Wales Police said: “We have liaised with the organisers and the local authority in Cheshire as the car park on which the event was to take place is in Cheshire and Flintshire.
“We are duty-bound to enforce Covid legislation in Flintshire which is currently a Health Protection Zone and precludes unnecessary travel into Cheshire from Flintshire.
“From 23rd October the All Wales ‘Fire-Break’ lockdown with tighter restrictions also comes into force.
“We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone including businesses, however, the issue is not about what facilities are, or are not, available on the Welsh side of the border, but the safety of the public and the legal enforcement of a Health Protection Zone in line with current Covid-19 legislation.”