NOISE from parties at a County Durham hotel has been described as akin to “mental torture” by people living nearby.

Neighbours of Bowburn Hall Hotel, near Durham, are objecting to proposals to extend the ballroom, as well as put in outside decking and a pergola, because of noise generated by the venue.

Bowburn resident Ann McGowan said: “The noise situation has been dreadful over a number of years.

“When they have music the bass is continuous for hours. It’s akin to mental torture.”

The planning committee at Durham County Council heard the scheme, which would create seven jobs, would be a chance to improve the situation for residents because a noise mitigation plan could be put in place.

“It’s impossible to get any sleep or any comfort whatsoever.

Bowburn councillor Jan Blakey said: “We do realise Bowburn Hall is an asset to Bowburn as only one of two drinking lodges in the area but at the same time we have had considerable issues with noise levels and disruption to neighbours.”

Cllr Stuart Dunn said: “I think we need to reflect that this extension would have a significant and positive impact on the hotel and for employment but I have to agree about concerns about noise.”

Hotel manager Charlie Eedle said: “The hotel is going from strength to strength and we believe the extension will allow us to maximise the potential that is out there.

“We’re working closely with environmental health. Something we take very seriously is residents. This extension would allow us to minimise disruption.”

The decision was deferred because of questions over whether measures were enforceable by the council.

An officer from the council’s environmental health team will attend another meetings to give details about what enforcement would be available to the authority.

Cllr Mark Davinson said: “Yes we want to help the hotel and help get people into jobs but we need to know more detail about it’s going to be causing noise and what our officers can do to enforce what we’re putting in to mitigate it.”