A PUBLIC entertainment licence that will allow Darlington's Reynolds Arena to stage late-night parties and discos has been granted.

The provisional licence will mean the stadium's Bar 66 can hold entertainment for drinkers until midnight, seven days a week.

Darlington Football Club chairman George Reynolds has claimed that the stadium cannot survive unless he is allowed to stage non-football related events to generate revenue.

Thirteen people objected to the club's application to Darlington Borough Council and members of Neasham Road Action Group accused the authority of 'absolutely rolling over' to Mr Reynolds.

Chairman Jan Mazurk said the legal planning agreement for the stadium stated that the bar should only open from 11am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and until 10.30pm Sunday.

"We know this will be followed by a nightclub, car boot sales and antique fairs," she said. "We don't know why the council doesn't just let Mr Reynolds do what he likes."

When planning permission was granted, Mr Reynolds agreed that the stadium's use would be restricted to football-related activities.

Councillors were divided over the proposal but it was granted when chairman Isobel Hartley cast her deciding vote.

"I think the fact there could be some entertainment, a bit of music and entertainment in the bar, that seems to me to be okay," she said.

The meeting heard there was still building work to be done in order for the stadium to comply with planning conditions. The council is considering enforcement action.

Hurworth parish council has objected to plans now received by the borough council for car boot sales and a nightclub at the ground.