Darlington Borough Council (DBC) have confirmed they will not repeat last year's fireworks display citing a lack of funds.

Stephen Harker, leader of DBC, said last year's event in South Park was successful, but said it was too expensive and the council did not have the funds to deliver the display.

He said the money approved in this year's budget would not cover the costs, meaning residents would have needed to pay higher ticket prices.

The news was met by residents with disappointment, with some urging the council to proceed with the event.

Mr Harker said: “As a council, we are committed to delivering our varied events programme, and keen to build on that success.

"Although last year’s fireworks display was successful and well-attended, it was an expensive event to deliver to modern standards of event management and safety.

"The money approved in the budget earlier this year would not cover the costs and would have meant a relatively high ticket price would have had to be charged.

“Given the current financial pressures on households, we believe a free events programme, that is accessible to all, is the right approach and the money in the budget identified to go towards the cost of a fireworks display, should be re-purposed.”

The council announced plans to cancel the display in an update to its events programme.

They said there was an amount of money earmarked for this year's event but this proved to be not enough.

DBC added they did not wish to charge more for the event considering the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

They said they plan to repurpose the budget previously allocated for the display, and said they will share details on this in the next few months.

Peter Gibson, MP for Darlington, said he was disappointed by the news and questioned the decision.

He said: "I am very disappointed to learn that Darlington Council under Labour and Liberal Democrat control has decided to cancel the South Park Fireworks.

"Many thousands of people were able to enjoy a safe event. Firework-related Anti Social Behaviour in the weeks leading up to the event was lower than in previous years.

"The Impact on emergency services was lower as a result of this safe event.

"What will the Labour & Liberal Democrat Council cut next?"

Meanwhile, Darlington Labour have defended the decision and blamed the previous Conservative-led council for "overspending."

They accused the previous council of mismanaging finances and said they left little funding available for the display.

A Darlington Labour spokesperson said: "The cupboard is bare. We already know that the Tories set a budget that is overspending - by £7.5m every year. Spending all our reserves until we have none left.

"First we learnt that the promise to extend car parking was unfunded, by £1.7m.

"Now, sadly we find after all the talk of Fireworks, the Tories haven't budgeted for this.

"Last year the Fireworks cost £170k. Guess how much the Tories have put in the budget, only £60k. And, what's worse- there is no money at all for next year, or the next.

"After Tory mismanagement of our Council's finances, we simply have to start to make savings, not spend even more money that we don't have."