A CHANGE to the route of Barnard Castle Meet could be on the cards next year as the committee strives to comply with ever-increasing advice on safety.

President Andy Willsmore told Wednesday's annual meeting that the committee - whose ranks swelled to 19 after new blood came forward - could face challenges in the run-up to the 2005 event, including a change of route and the banning of tractors and trailers from the procession.

"We are to hold a meeting with the safety advisory group now we have formed our new committee," said Mr Willsmore. "But a change of route, which could take us down Victoria Road instead of the traditional Galgate, has been mooted. It is chip, chip, chip all the time."

The advisory group is a multi-agency panel which includes representatives from Teesdale District Council, the police and the county council. Its aim is to help those who organise carnivals, fetes and other public events by making recommendations about safety measures, including road closures.

Treasurer John Pearson said it cost the Meet £922 in traffic management this year, with the safety group insisting they put road closure signs on the A1.

"We hope to reduce that amount next year by shopping around, but it is a major outgoing," he added.

Mr Willsmore said they would have to wait and see what came out of the planned meeting.

"Although the recommendations are not law, we would be foolish to ignore them, because if anything happened we would be held accountable," he told the D&S Times.