Families have been left "disappointed" after finding out a major firework display in County Durham will be reserved for residents only.

Seaham Town Council has announced that this year's return of the free annual event will be restricted to those who live in the town in the interests of "safety."

The event, which saw thousands of families descend onto the town last year, is due to make an explosive return on Saturday, November 5.

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However, the council has said wristbands for the ticketed area of the event will only be handed out to those with proof of residence.

The Northern Echo:

In a statement last night, they said: "To avoid cancellation of this year’s Seaham Fireworks Event the Council has been required to put extra safety measures in place.

"The Fireworks Event is being classified as for Seaham Residents Only.

"The main area (the Marina and the area in front of Asda) will be restricted to Seaham Residents to reduce the traffic congestion on the A19 and around the town."

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They went on to say that wristbands would be checked on site as they confirmed attendees would have to show proof such as a utility bill or council tax bill to obtain one.

Meanwhile, they said a park and ride facility and extra parking on a car boot field had been arranged to attempt to reduce congestion on the night.

Last year, residents complained of "traffic chaos," saying that streets had become gridlocked for hours.

But on social media, the move was met with fury with families describing it as a "disgrace."

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Another, who says they will not be able to bring their family to the main event as they live outside of the area, said they were "disgusted."

They said: "Absolutely disgusting! We live in Seaham and come with our family from Sunderland every year, our yearly tradition."

Another added: "We were looking forward to it. Go every year for this very reason, it’s normally fairly quiet and easy to get parked. What an absolute disgrace."

However, giving a contrasting view, one person said: "This is a local town for local people."

According to Seaham Town Council's statement, there will be a number of road closures in place during the event.

Elsewhere in the region, Sunderland Barnes Park will host a fireworks display at 7.45pm on Saturday, October 29 and Hartlepool Rugby Club will host one at 7.30pm on Friday, November 4.

The leader of Seaham Town Council has been approached for comment.

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