Residents fear road closures will leave them trapped in their homes
Angry residents fear being trapped in their own homes because of plans to close all the roads near their houses to make way for a major new sporting event.
Villagers in Plaistow and Ifold say they will have no way out of their homes for eight hours during the Velo South cycling event.
Organisers plan to close 100 miles of roads in West Sussex while 15,000 cyclists pedal their way through the countryside on September 23.
Villagers fear that, as well as them being unable to go about their business, emergency vehicles would have difficulty in reaching the villages.
Matt Alsbury-Morris, 34, who lives in Plaistow with his wife and two children, said: “They can’t just landlock villages in the south east because people fancy a jolly. This is a public and patient safety issue.”
He said around 2,000 people in Plaistow and Ifold would be “locked in their properties for eight hours with no firm arrangements on how they get in and out and how they get emergency care.”
Matt, a manager with gas firm BOC, is also a public governor for the South East Coast Ambulance Service and a community first responder. He says he will be volunteering his services on the day of the event “so that my community is safe.”
Another resident hit out at the road closures as ‘outrageous.’ She said: “This will cause issues with people going to work, carers getting to their clients, farmers getting out to care for off-farm livestock, and children attending their Sunday sporting activities among other problems.”
The Velo South cycling event is expected to raise millions for local and national charities.
Roads will be closed along the 100-mile circular route - which starts and finishes at Goodwood - and will take in a number of towns and villages throughout the county.
The race is being organised by CSM Active and is the only opportunity for cyclists to ride 100 miles on closed roads in the UK, apart from Ride London.
Among those taking part is world cup-winning England rugby legend Martin Johnson, Olympic rowing champion Mark Hunter and Olympic 400m champion Sally Gunnell who is riding for the charity Age UK West Sussex
A spokesman for CSM Active said: “Vélo South organisers have worked closely with our partners West Sussex County Council, Chichester and Horsham District Councils, Parish Councils and local media across the entire route since February to communicate details about the event and the necessary road closures.
“Over 162,000 leaflets were distributed to residents and businesses across the whole route throughout May and a ‘roadshow’ event was held in Loxwood on Thursday, June 14, from 11am-8pm, at which 40 people from the local area attended to discuss the event.
“Other roadshow events are also being hosted along other parts of the Vélo South route and additional ‘leaflet drops’ will take place throughout the summer.
“Emergency services representatives have been involved in the entire Vélo South planning process and services responding to any kind of emergency will be facilitated by the organisers, managed from the Event Control Room in partnership with emergency service representatives.
“Event organisers have and will continue to address access concerns across the entire route, facilitating access wherever possible.
“Should residents or businesses along the Vélo South route have any specific concerns about access during the day they are encouraged to contact the organisers by email at [email protected]”