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The Grange in Darlington bids to extend opening hours
A NORTH-EAST venue once at the centre of a controversial teenage party has unveiled fresh plans to extend its opening hours.
The Grange, in Darlington, has applied to sell alcohol until 3am, and sell drink to be consumed off the premises until 1am.
The bar, in Grange Road, currently opens until 1.30am on Friday and Saturdays.
Co-owner David Storer has moved to calm fears that his application could lead to a rise in rowdy behaviour, saying the move came after requests from his older customers.
He said: “At these times we won’t be as busy as we would be during earlier hours and it is simply down to customer pressure.
“We want to make the most of what they want, but there will be no trouble or noise because our clientele aren’t like that.
“It is very much an old-fashioned pub atmosphere. People like to come in, have a drink and a chat, and then go home.
“We get told by people they want us to stay open a little longer so they can enjoy that feeling, and we also get asked about buying a bottle of wine to take home, which is where the licence will help.”
The venue came under scrutiny from Darlington Borough Council licensing bosses after a teenage party advertised on Facebook in February saw hundreds of youngsters buy tickets for the event.
It was closed by staff less than an hour after it started, when party-goers arrived drunk and without tickets.
Mr Storer said the incident was blown out of proportion and was shut early due to factors out of the bar’s control.
The venue has since drawn up new rules to organise youth events, including only allowing licence holders to promote under-18s events.
Mr Storer said: “We have learned from what happened and will move on.
“We told the promoter he could sell 450 tickets and subsequently found out he had oversold the tickets.”