CONCERNS have been raised over the viability of Clitheroe Food Festival after it was revealed the event made a financial loss of more than £8,000.

Around 20,000 people visited the town to enjoy the annual event which boasted celebrity chefs, food stalls, local produce and a fly over from the Red Arrows.

But despite originally being classed as an 'big success' in a report to Ribble Valley Council's community services committee it was revealed a large reduction in sponsorship income, additional security costs after recent terror attacks as well as changes to VAT on stallholder and park and ride income the event made a loss of £8,180.

Last year the food festival made a profit of £5,222 and increase of £13,406 on this year’s event.

Clitheroe councillor Mary Robinson said when she discovered the event had cost so much to put on she had doubts over whether it would be viable to hold again in the future.

She said: "The festival should not make a financial loss.

"However it was explained to me that this year's losses are down to the circumstances of the country and the council having to pay for a lot more security.

"Visitors were impressed by the security throughout the festival. But the cost as well as the reduction in sponsorship was too costly.

“I do hope it will not make a loss again next year.”

The report said additional security personnel, which were hired to this year to assist with crowd management and overall safety of the event, cost the council £1,440.

It also said a reduction in sponsorship income was £7,000 lower than last year.

The report said for the event to continue in the longer term it would need an increase in sponsorship, reduction in costs or alternative methods of income generated.

A spokesman for the council said: “The report that has been published is just an interim report.

“We have not got all the final income and expenditure figures and this is not the final position.

“Another report will be going to community in October.”

The report also mentioned two market stall holders chose to close on the day of the event.

Maria Eraith,a trader at Clitheroe Market, said: “The festival does not bring in money for the traders.

“The festival does not bring in the locals and we end up having an empty market.

“It brings in thousands of visitors and we have hoped that bringing in more people would help boost the market but it has not because they don’t come back.”

Cllr Ken Hind, leader of Ribble Valley Council, said: “The food festival was a major success.

“It was a big boost for local businesses; 20,000 people visited the festival and most of the Ribble Valley businesses got involved.

“After the Manchester bombing we upgraded the security.

“It was a big success even if it came at a financial cost.

“I think if you asked the visitors if they want it cancelled I think the answer will be firmly no.”