COUNCILLORS yesterday agreed to apply for more than £265,000 to spruce up a Darlington park.

The borough council is to make a bid to the Government's New Opportunities Fund for the cash to revitalise North Lodge Park. The council has already secured the funding but needs approval to spend the full amount on extensive refurbishment of the park. A decision is expected by the end of the month.

LEAK MYSTERY: A specialist hazardous materials officer from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service was checking possible sources of a mystery chemical leak at Tallent Engineering, in Newton Aycliffe, yesterday. A spokesman for the service said two employees had reported feeling unwell. The company did not comment.

HELP PLEA: Darlington's Help the Aged shop is appealing for volunteers. Anyone who can help is asked to call at the shop in Post House Wynd, or telephone (01325) 363503.

COURT ORDER: Adam Simons, 23, of Craig Street, Darlington was made subject of a 12-month community rehabilitation order by Darlington magistrates yesterday, after admitting five charges of theft and three of failing to surrender to bail.

GRANT AID: Darlington Borough Council's cabinet has approved grants to: Darlington Boxing and Martial Arts Academy; Haughton Volleyball Club; SSAFA; Forces Help; Albion Boys Football Club; Haughton Junior Badminton Club and the Save the Children Fund.

TWIN CELEBRATIONS: Councillors have approved plans for the 50th anniversary of Darlington's town-twinning celebrations. Exchange visits involving people from Amiens, France, and Mlheim an der Ruhr, Germany, will be held, and young Darlington musicians will take part in the Amiens town fete in June.

LITERARY GROUP: New members are welcome to join Wear Valley Writers group at Bishop Auckland Town Hall every Wednesday, from 7pm to 9.30pm. For details call Peter Walters on (01388) 528423.

TABLE-TOP SALE: The Children's Society's Teesdale fundraising committee will hold a table-top sale in Scarth Hall, Staindrop, on Saturday, from 10am to 1pm. For further details, or to book a table, call (01833) 660237.

COMPLAINTS FIGURES: Two complaints were made to the Local Government Ombudsman about Darlington Borough Council between November 12 and yesterday. Both were dealt with at the Ombudsman's discretion, including one which is not being investigated because it is subject to the council's own complaints procedure.

LAND SALE: Darlington Borough Council has agreed to sell a piece of land at Lanethorpe Crescent, Darlington, for residential development.

SOUL NIGHT: A Northern Soul Night is being held at the ASE Club, Northgate, Darlington, on Saturday. The doors open at 7.30pm.