A NEW cinema was granted a licence to serve alcohol hours just before its opening night.

A Durham County Council licensing committee approved the licence for Durham's Odeon Luxe yesterday, when it held its launch night.

Fears had been raised about underage sales and noisy audiences disturbing people living nearby.

The licence means the cinema will be able to open from 9am – 1am Sunday – Thursday and 9am – 2am Friday and Saturday.

However, times for alcohol sales will be slightly shorter, available from 11am – midnight Sunday – Thursday and 11am – 1am Friday and Saturday.

Concerns were raised at the committee’s meeting to rule on the application by City of Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods, who was represented by her caseworker Nick Rippin, and Roger Cornwell, of the City of Durham Parish Council.

Setting out the MP’s concerns, Mr Rippin said: “The applicant suggests the majority of customers will travel by car, but there is only one car park in the complex currently open.

“[That means] more pedestrians on the streets, a lack of public transport, more people queuing for taxis.”

He added this would create "more nuisance for people living in the city centre".

Suzanne Davies, of Clifton Davies Consultancy, acting for Odeon, responded once building work was completed more than 700 parking spaces would be available nearby.

She also raised the possibility of discounted parking charges for cinema-goers.

The cinema is open to the public from today.