A POPULAR family attraction has lodged plans for a permanent 'drive-thru' facility to help safeguard the future of the business amid the financial challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ice Cream Farm, in Tattenhall, which employs more than 100 staff at its Drumlan Hall Farm site, introduced a drive-thru option during the first coronavirus lockdown last summer.

Now the award-winning attraction has submitted a planning application to create a formalised and enhanced drive-thru facility around what would be a newly-formed, large wildlife pond sited at the current location of the animal experience.

The site for the proposal currently comprises a hardstanding track which visitors can either walk around or enjoy a land train ride taking in the various small paddocks containing animals.

The Ice Cream Farm wants to upgrade and improve this existing part of the attraction to house the drive-through experience, which in itself will create 15 full-time and part-time roles.

Winsford Guardian: An artist's impression of how the drive-through facility at The Ice Cream Farm would look.An artist's impression of how the drive-through facility at The Ice Cream Farm would look.

In the planning application submitted by ARKHI Architects Ltd, on behalf of The Ice Cream Farm, it states: "Part of the reasoning behind this business plan is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the client striving to ensure the longevity of the business to protect its staff.

"The client has acknowledged that The Ice Cream Farm is in general a seasonal business, and is seeking to introduce ways to ensure the flow of visitors during the quieter months.

"The drive-in experience will help to support this, and to recuperate some of the downturn in cashflow experienced as a result of the various Covid-19 trading restrictions, and social distancing guidelines."

The proposed scheme will incorporate a single one-way track winding around the proposed pond, with a slight reconfiguration of the existing route into the site.

Explaining how the drive-thru facility will operate, the planning application adds: "Customers will be able to drive-in, pick up their pre-booked ice-creams through a dedicated app and have the option to stay and eat or continue to drive around the pond once the order has been received.

Winsford Guardian: An artist's impression of how the drive-through facility at The Ice Cream Farm would look.An artist's impression of how the drive-through facility at The Ice Cream Farm would look.

"The pre-booking system will have the ability to cap the number of visitors to the site. This will help to control the potential increase in traffic of the proposed development and enable visitors and the Ice Cream Farm business to meet government guidelines for social distancing through the Covid-19 recovery period."

The neighbour consultation period runs until February 8.