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SNOOKER players will be able to play for longer after permission was granted to extend the opening times of the Potting Shed in Hereford.

The Ryelands Street venue will now be allowed to trade up until 1am on Thursday and Friday nights and until midnight for the rest of the week.

Herefordshire Council's regulatory sub-committee this week heard that Lucie Watts, who runs the hall, frequently has to stop snooker matches because they are only allowed to compete until 11pm.

"Nine times out of ten, they do finish at 10.30pm, but some times they finish later because players are playing 'safe'," said Lucie.

"The variation in the licence would be to safeguard me."

The committee heard that a number of residents were concerned that an increase in hours would exacerbate anti-social problems in the area, as well as noise levels.

"Baysham Street and Chandos Street are already crime hotspots and there are damage to cars in Ryelands Street," said Gordon and Heidi Lyth in a written representation to Herefordshire Council.

"Anti-social behaviour, shouting and swearing is already a problem late at night - any increase would be simply unfair to local residents."

However, Melanie Standley, speaking on behalf of Lucie, said that windows and doors at the hall would be shut from 11pm and it is not Lucie's intention to turn the venue into a nightclub.

"The fear that there will be loud, booming music, is unfounded," said Melanie.

"Any anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated - Lucie doesn't want to upset her neighbours."

The committee granted the variation, subject to a number of conditions.

These include the installation of CCTV cameras and the provision of door supervisors.