THE future of an ancient annual fair on Yarm High Street is under review.

Stockton's Independent Safety Advisory Group (ISAG), made up of representatives from different agencies, has asked Stockton Borough Council to 'review the feasibility of operating this scale of event on Yarm High Street'.

In a debrief report to Stockton Borough Council it has listed a number of incidents at last October's Yarm Fair, including a horse and rider from the travelling community careering into a crowd control barrier.

There was also a near-miss involving an unsupervised young girl running into a car, and there was a stabbing in Yarm on the penultimate night, although not within the boundary of the fair.

ISAG, which is independent of the council, assessed 56 events in the Stockton area in 2018 and its report outlines five areas of 'significant concern which warrant further investigation'.

Of these five, three relate to Yarm Fair, which is now organised by the Showmen's Guild, and the report calls for the 'viability of an event of this scale in Yarm High Street to be reviewed'.

In a report to full council Reuben Kench, director of culture, leisure and events, said ISAG could draw upon expert input to review the future of the fair.

"Whilst it is not Stockton Council's intent to dictate the form and content of any event organised by a third party, as the landowner with potential liability for incidents occurring during any such event, it is appropriate for Stockton Council to facilitate this review," he said.

"Stockton council officers will invite the key partners in that event, Yarm Town Council, Yarm Business Forum and the Showmen's Guild, to participate in a review at the earliest opportunity."

Peter Monck, chairman of Yarm Town Council, was not aware of the potential review but said if the recommendation was to move it or stop the event, the town council would fight it.

He said: "If ISAG wants to move it we will want to know where, and if it goes somewhere else it will take away Yarm's ancient tradition.

"If the report says it is not feasible to carry on doing it in the town centre we will fight any attempt to move it."

The fair dates back to the 13th Century when King John granted the original charter. It incorporates the 'Flashing of the Horses' event, an ancient traveller tradition.