Residents in protest threat as race looms

The Ironman Challengers cycle through Buckshaw Village
The Ironman Challengers cycle through Buckshaw Village
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Angry residents are threatening to stage a sit in when an annual race passes through their village next month.

The gruelling 10th Ironman UK comes to Chorley on Sunday, July 20.

But folk in Heskin say they could disrupt the event by sitting in the road if organisers do not change road closures already set out for the cycle race.

One resident says the village has had a lot cope with of late – planning proposals such as the residential redevelopment of Camelot and a planned rehab centre in neighbouring Charnock Richard - and that this is the last straw.

Mum-of-one Kerry Welsh, of Withington Lane, Heskin, who runs a jewellery shop at the Heskin Farmers’ Market and Craft Centre, Wood Lane, warned race organisers of the protest.

“We have a very active community group. One of my suggestions is, if they don’t listen to us, on the day of the event we will protest in the road – we will have a sit in,” she said.

“If nobody will talk to us and take our views into consideration, why should we allow this event.”

She claims she could lose up to £5,000 business on the day.

“Sundays are by far my busiest day,” she said. “It can be a significant loss just on one day. There are about 50 businesses in the centre and we are all going to be hit.

“They are small retailers trying to make a living.

“I was affected by redundancy and had to make a wage.

“None of us have been consulted. There are no alternatives to what they are doing.

“I just don’t understand why they are going ahead with road closures that affect the south and east of Heskin – the A49, M6 corridor around the village.”

She said on occasions the past there had been no road closures and that the traffic and racers had used roads

She added that two local churches would be hit by the closures, too.

Ironman UK is being hosted by Bolton and Lancashire.

The course comprises a swim in Pennington Flash, Leigh; a 112-mile cycle ride into Lancashire and a 26.2-mile run beginning from the Reebok Stadium into Bolton town centre.

There are 50 qualifying slots for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

A spokesman for Ironman UK said: “Through the process of applying for a route for Ironman we consider many alternatives in order to minimise the impact that the event will have on the local residents and businesses, although some impact is inevitable.

“Once a route has been approved by the council and police, we then work to inform the public so that we can address concerns and assist with information.

“We have found this information process often greatly helps in understanding the actual effect of the route and the alternatives that may be available.

“This process is on going as we approach the event on July 20 and we would encourage members of the public to contact Ironman if they require further information.”