A HOTEL drafted in a lawyer yesterday to ensure a local authority granted its request for slightly longer opening hours.

The Hotel Bannatyne, in Southend Avenue, Darlington, formerly known as the New Grange Hotel, applied to open 11am to 1am, Sunday to Wednesday, and 11am to 1.30am, Thursday to Saturday.

Yesterday, despite objections from local resident Robert Ruddock, who lives in Southend Avenue, the extended hours were granted by Darlington Borough Council's licensing sub-committee.

The hotel has an existing public entertainment licence to stay open until 1am, seven days a week.

Mr Ruddock said the longer hours would cause traffic noise in the early hours.

Bannatyne lawyer Derek Walker argued Mr Ruddock lived in a busy area, within earshot of Grange Road and Victoria Road.

Mr Ruddock told councillors, he was prepared to strike a compromise, and asked the hotel to consider opening longer only on weekend evenings, meaning Friday into Saturday and Saturday into Sunday.

"This would allow residents peace and quiet on the nights before work."

However, Mr Walker stressed that Mr Ruddock had been the only person to contest the extended opening hours and the police had no objections.