A CURRY house has had its application for a new alcohol licence approved at the second time of asking.

Spice Island, in Barnard Castle, went to Durham County Council in July seeking permission to serve drinks in a planned cocktail lounge.

However, after restaurant bosses tried to make late changes to proposals for the second floor bar and lounge area, council chiefs said put the process on hold.

But, on Thursday, members of the council's statutory licensing sub-committee said they were satisfied with the restaurant’s application and approved it, following negotiations with police and council departments.

Applicant and restaurant owner Shuhel Ahmed told the committee: “Every single condition the council and Durham Constabulary have asked for I have welcomed, we want to be a safe environment for everybody.

“When it comes to concerns about noise, nuisance and anti-social behaviour, we’re in the Market Place, the main street in Barnard Castle, and there’s a number of clubs down the road open till the early hours of the morning and public toilets right outside our premises.

“We will not be adding to things, the type of clientele we will be expecting will not be the type to cause problems in the early hours of the morning because we won’t be open.”

Following Mr Ahmed’s original application, the council’s environmental health team objected about proposals for an external staircase to be added to the building.

This objection was withdrawn after a revised application removed the staircase.

Mr Ahmed also scaled back his planned hours for opening, alcohol sales, music and food to stop at midnight, with extensions allowed at Christmas and New Year.

Councillor Carole Hampson, who chaired the meeting, said: “We’ve listened to the objections and noted that Environmental Health have withdrawn their objection, so we will grant the application. I’m pleased to see Mr Ahmed has been working with the residents regarding the opening hours and I hope it continues.”