THERE are fears a huge event involving as many as 25,000 cyclists could leave some residents unable to use their cars.

Velo Essex features a family ride, a 50-mile ride and a 100-mile ride.

It is expected to be one of Europe’s largest cycling events when it hits the county on September 20 this year.

A professional road race could also be held on the same day on the same route.

Up to 15,000 cyclists could take part in the 50 and 100-mile routes, with up to 10,000 riders in the family event.

Road closures are expected for each section of the route, which is due to start in Chelmsford’s Hylands Park before heading through the Rodings, Dunmow, Bardfield, Saffron Walden then back though Finchingfield, Toppesfield, Wethersfield, Braintree, Felsted and back to Chelmsford.

Among the places most affected will be Finchingfield where four main routes will be closed off between 7am and 12.15pm.

Finchingfield Parish Council’s Jane Welsh said they had not been consulted over the plans.

She said: “If it was like the Tour de France it would be good for the village. The only thing it would be bad for is for people wanting to get anywhere.

“But we managed it on the day of the Tour de France  when they shut all the roads coming in.

“It has been done before. And bear in mind the Tour de France was on a week day.

“If  the crowds come and it’s planned well then I think it will be more of an issue with travel – not the village per se.”

One section of the route, which uses School Road between Rayne and Felsted and then the B1417 between Felsted and Howe Street will be closed to motorists for more than nine hours.

Essex County Council says it will carry out “detailed and ongoing communication” with all residents and businesses along the route, where large numbers of spectators are expected.

The council said: “As with any mass participation sporting event, there are some risks with running this event the most likely being resident complaints about the closed roads”.

It is expected that parking in the road will not be allowed while the traffic orders are in place.

That will affect people from St Edmunds Lane in Dunmow which will prohibit parking between 5.30am and 11pm.

One resident who lives on  St Edmunds Lane, which normally has cars parked on the highway, did not expect too much disruption.

He said: “On the face of it the Dunmow carnival is more disruptive when we can’t turn left or right at the bottom than this event when we can park in St Mary’s Church car park the day before and then walk up to get the car if we need it.”

The town will also just have two roads in and out of the centre during that time.

There will also be bus route changes – including the X30 Stansted Express which will not be able to travel through  Ford End and Barnston.

The council,  along with Active Essex and the organiser Active Sport & Entertainment Limited, says benefits will include promoting better public health – the event will encourage people to be physically active throughout their lives regardless of age and ability.

It also says the event will encourage active travel by promoting cycling as a sustainable means of transport.

It is  anticipated that the event will attract “many thousands” of people to Essex, who will stay in hotels and thereby promote Essex as a destination for shopping and recreation.

An Essex Highways spokesman said: "An event of this nature means road closures will need to be in place, but this will be for a few hours only and they will be rolling road closures.

“As the cyclists pass each point, the roads will be opened up behind them. Being able to cycle on closed roads through amazing countryside is a key attraction of Velo Essex and is why interest levels are already high. We will make sure that all residents and businesses are fully aware of road closures before the event, as well as local diversions, including any bus rerouting.” As the event takes place on a Sunday, a quieter day for traffic than a weekday, there will be much less disruption.”

“There will also be arrangements in place for both spectator car parking and alternative parking arrangements for local residents.

“Emergency vehicles will of course be able to access streets as required and the SAG (safety advisory group), convened for all events of this nature, will have oversight of all road closure plans. Essex County Council and all partners in Velo Essex are committed to the health and wellbeing of all residents during this event.

“All of this will be communicated directly to residents before the event, and this communication will involve key partners such as parish councils and district councils.”