PREPARATIONS for this year’s Allendale May Fair are well under way despite additional funding challenges.

The committee which organises the fair has had to find £500 to pay Northumberland County Council to close a road in the village.

This year’s committee chairwoman, Linda Beck, criticised the charge.

She said: “We just found that out of this world for a small village. It’s literally just for a few hours.

“It seems very much over the odds and puts village fairs at risk. We’re having to raise in excess of £4,000.”

The road closure had been free of charge in the past, but the county council announced last year that the charge would be phased in, with the event organisers paying £250 to close the road last year.

In November, the council explained that the road closures had only been free due to a legal loophole.

A spokesman explained: “The charging policy has not changed. The process is simply now being applied correctly. Event organisers were notified of the proposed charges for road closures by letter in December, 2017.

“However, in order to help them with their financial planning for events we have phased this in and only sought 50 per cent of the charge for 2018, with full cost recovery taking place from 2019 onwards.”

Despite this, Linda was confident that this year’s event, which takes place over the second May Bank Holiday, will be a success.

She continued: “It’s a bigger event this year. We have more stalls than last year.

“What I would say is we have massive plans for the future, but things like this charge can put a doubt over the future of the fair. To find the time to fund-raise is a huge challenge.”