THE organiser of York Balloon Fiesta has suggested the event could return next year - if traffic management can be improved.

The Press reported earlier this week that City of York Council chiefs believed the event's future was in doubt after it led to traffic chaos for motorists and bus passengers.

Cllr Ian Gillies, council leader, said the festival was a success but the local authority had to take some responsibility for the transport problems.

The fiesta, which took place on the weekend of September 29, led to severe delays on the roads and caused "gridlock" in the city centre according to First York, which tweeted that services were running an hour late.

At a council meeting on Tuesday, managing director of Make It York Steve Brown said it was still "to be decided" if the event will return in 2019.

Oliver Webb, one of the fiesta organisers, said: “After an incredibly successful 2018, myself and my co-organiser have been busy working on other projects during the remainder of this year. However, as per the previous two years we plan to re-group in January to discuss York Balloon Fiesta 2019.

“We did try hard this year to set up a working relationship with a local bus company, but were disappointed by their lack of support. If we decide to run this fantastic event in 2019 we do realise that there needs to be a significant improvement in the traffic management system.”

Marc Bichtemann, managing director for First York, said: “We would love to see the balloon fiesta return to York and it’s therefore disappointing to hear that the organisers did not feel supported by bus operators at this year’s event.

“We want to ensure that public transport becomes a key element for all future events planning in the city, as this year’s traffic chaos, which inconvenienced thousands of York residents, could have been avoided.”

Cllr Gillies, speaking at the meeting, said: “I think the council have to take some responsibility for that as well.”