RESIDENTS and business owners have slammed a decision to close a number of roads in Worcestershire for a 100-mile charity bike ride.
Fifteen thousand cyclists will take on the Vélo Birmingham, along an entirely closed roads route, including 60 miles of Worcestershire's countryside.
The cyclists will travel from Birmingham through Bewdley, Great Witley, Stanford Bridge, Upper Rochford, Clifton-upon-Teme, back through Great Witley, Ombersley, Droitwich, Cutnall Green and Bromsgrove before returning to Birmingham on Sunday, September 24.
Worcestershire County Council says the event will help promote the county and healthy living – but people living and working on the route say they will be forced to shut or trapped at home.
Lee Ball, the owner of The King's Arms, in Ombersley, says the village will be cut off.
He says customers arriving via the A449 will be unable to leave as the A443 and a nearby roundabout leading to all exit routes will be closed from 7.30am to 4.30pm.
Mr Ball said: "I can't afford to lose anywhere between £1,500 and £2,000.
"Last year we did 120 meals on that Sunday.
"There was no consultation. I had a letter through the post as a resident. It said the road is closing.
"We have literally been kept out of the loop. Noone has said a word to us until this letter and some of the businesses didn't even get the letter."
Mr Ball has complained to Worcestershire County Council and CSM, the organisation behind Vélo Birmingham, and is hoping for compensation.
He said: "The message back was it will make the county healthier but that's nonsense.
"Fifteen thousand people taking on a bike ride from Birmingham will have no effect on the health of people in Ombersley.
"And I think people have better things to do than watch charity bike rides so I think that's nonsense as well."
Sue Law, who owns the Holt Fleet pub in Holt Heath, near Worcester, said: "We will have to close. The staff can't get here. We can't even get out ourselves to go out on the day.
"I know it's for charity but there's been no consultation at all."
She says Sunday is the pub's busiest day and she has already had to turn down a wedding enquiry.
Those living near Bromyard and Tenbury have also complained they will be trapped in their homes all day, even setting up a petition demanding the event be cancelled.
Worcestershire County Council's head of highways, Jon Fraser, says the ride will promote Worcestershire and that he is talking to businesses, the Diocese of Worcester and Worcestershire FA about any potential disruption.
He said: "We do understand there will be some disruption but we will ask people to work with us on it.
"We know around 10 per cent of those taking part are local, so that's a significant number and we think about 35 per cent will be people from outside the West Midlands.
"That's thousands of people not from the area that will be looking at 60 miles of lovely Worcestershire countryside which is a positive."
He said by giving six month's notice, the council hopes to resolve any challenges and added: "We are happy to discuss any concerns people have got."
The council will not receive any money but organisers will donate to its charities and a leaflet promoting the county will be included in riders' goodie bags.
Places for the event, which cost £75 for general entry, sold out within four days.
Cyclists can still enter via charity partners Alzheimer’s Society, Cure Leukaemia, NSPCC and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
A Vélo Birmingham spokesman said: "If anyone needs to make an urgent and specific journey on Sunday, September 24, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will be readily available to discuss journey options.
"It is important to note that the closed roads will not affect the emergency services and, on the day, our event team will be working closely with local response units to ensure this."
The roads, shown in these maps, will be shut on a rolling system throughout the day with the B4203 at Stanford Bridge closed from 6am to 1.30pm, the B4204 at Upper Rochford, the B4214, Bromyard Road, the B4203 at Upper Sapey and the B4204 at Clifton-upon-Teme shut from 6.30am to 3.30am.
The B4197 from Martley to Great Witley and the A443 to Ombersley and Droitwich will be shut from 7.30am to 4.30pm while the A38 at Droitwich and the A442 Cutnall Green will be shut from 8am to 6pm.