Roberta Blackman-Woods MP
Roberta Blackman-Woods MP

Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham, has today welcomed the opening of the new Odeon Luxe cinema in the city centre, but has spoken about her outrage at Durham County Council’s decision to allow it to show films until 2am.

At a licensing hearing on Tuesday 4 June 2019, the council’s licensing sub-committee granted Odeon’s request to show films until 1am Sunday to Thursday, and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, despite objections to these hours being submitted by Roberta and the City of Durham Parish Council.

Alongside this, Odeon will be allowed to show films until 3am ten times a year on any day of the week.

Roberta objected to the lateness of the regular opening hours; the proposals to open until 3am ten times a year; some concerns over alcohol sales and the impact that the noise of people moving through the city late at night will have on residents.

Despite these objections, the council’s licensing committee granted the hours that Odeon was seeking, with the only conditions placed on the license that address potential noise disruption being the very meagre provision of signs and staff at the door asking people to leave the premises quietly.

Roberta said:

“Although I am really pleased that Odeon is opening a cinema in Durham, once again we are in a position where a license has been granted by Durham County Council that is simply far too late for a residential city.

The views of residents are being ignored again, and it’s clear that the council sees the city centre as a cash cow and is more interested in developing a night-time/early morning economy than dealing with the concerns of the people who live in Durham. It has been obvious for years that families and others are ill-served by the licensing regime in Durham and will simply move out of the city in even greater numbers if this is allowed to continue.

The way in which the licensing system is being run in Durham shows an absolute dereliction of duty by the council, and they must stop treating the community, most of whom are council tax payers, in this way. These early morning licenses are now becoming commonplace in Durham and are very much out of step with what happens in other small, residential cities, where licenses stretching into the early hours are not usually granted.

Therefore, I have contacted Odeon directly to point out how inadequate the measures to limit noise disruption are, and the impact this venue may have on those who live in the city. I have also written to Durham County Council to demand that the licensing committee meet with residents whose quality of life is being so damaged by their policies and to whom they show absolutely no regard when making decisions.”

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