A CONTROVERSIAL town fair which was abandoned last year will return in 2014 as a family festival, and an appeal has gone out to businesses to get involved.

The ancient September Fair in Northallerton dates back more than 800 years and was originally known as the St Bartholomew Fair.

It was resurrected in 2012, but there was criticism about lack of consultation and disruption.

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Organiser Ryan Crow, of A S Crow and Sons, said last minute changes last year left him with insufficient time to properly consult so the festival did not take place.

However this year he said he has already started working with local authorities to ensure the event from September 11 to 14 is well managed and safe.

“We are planning a four day family festival in the High Street to involve as many local groups and businesses as possible in a post summer holiday event,” said Mr Crow.

“Our aim for 2014 remains to encourage more people into the town from across the region and to create a spectacular annual event, not just a fun fair."

Mr Crow is hoping to make use of the town square as an exhibition area for businesses and organisations on the Sunday for fashion shows and food and drink tasting.

He said to try and cause as little disruption as possible no shops will be affected on the west side of the High Street during trading hours, with no large rides on that side of the street.

Catering units, stalls and children’s rides on the west side will be removed in the evenings, to leave the area clear for daytime parking and the Saturday market.

The fun fair run by Crows' amusements will operate from 6pm to 11pm, Thursday to Saturday and 1pm to 5pm on the Sunday, with High Street traffic diverted.

Mr Crow is offering to meet with any organisations to discuss the event.

He said: "We plan to market the event across the region as a family friendly event with something for everyone to attract as much footfall as possible to the town through the period of the festival – day and night.”