THE fallout over road closures connected to the Etape Cymru cycle race has intensified.
Community leaders said they have been “inundated” with complaints over the enforced closures, while one man said they cost him hundreds of pounds in lost business.
Sunday’s race attracted 2,000 cyclists and organisers said it boosted the the North Wales economy by £500,000.
But there were claims the road closures, with some main highways shut for long periods, left people marooned.
Agricultural contractor Dave Edwards, of Penycae, said three customers called him wanting grass cutting for bales but he had difficulty reaching his storage yard to fetch equipment and getting through to the fields he was due to work on.
He said he was held up “for hours”, costing him hundreds of pounds.
Farmer Paula Williams, of Bronwylfa, near Rhos, said she had difficulty transporting her pigs to Corwen because of the delays. The animals were left stuck in a trailer.
She said: “The welfare of animals is vital. The temperature can rise in a trailer. I think the event was poorly organised. Farmers’ work doesn’t stop.”
Elsewhere, a pregnant woman and her son from Penycae had to walk out of her way to carry shopping home.
Her husband said: “On returning, they couldn’t reach our house because of the road closures. My wife had to walk about a quarter of a mile with shopping and look after our four-year-old son while cyclists rode past.
“We didn’t know the road closure would be going on so long. There should have been more communication.”
Organisers of the race, though, said they placed great emphasis on safety and minimising disruption.
They also pointed out the Etape Cymru promotes health, boosts the area’s economy and helps good causes.
But Cllr Paul Pemberton, who represents Ponciau ward on Wrexham Council, said:
“I had a lot of phone calls about the Etape Cymru.
“I think we need to be thinking more about the general public. I will be making strong representations about the length of the time road closures were in place.”
Cllr John Phillips, of Penycae ward, said: “I lost count of the number of phone calls I received. People were having trouble reaching relatives, workers had to make long detours to get to their place of employment and farmers were having problems.
“The length of time the road closures were in place definitely needs looking at.”
A Wrexham Council meeting yesterday heard the authority had been contacted more than 20 times about organisation of the race, although council leader Neil Rogers stressed the calls included compliments as well as complaints.
Cllr David Kelly, of Minera ward, said: “I’m concerned that over the years this has been running the organisers are still making the same mistakes as in the first years and they are not learning by their mistakes.
“I think a lot of residents just look at this event as an inconvenience.”
Nick Rusling, chief executive officer of event organisers Human Race, said, however: “From a safety perspective the roads in North Wales are often tight and narrow, meaning it is too dangerous to send cyclists into oncoming traffic.
“The organisers acknowledge the event can cause disruptions to the local area and put a huge amount of work in place to minimise this, with many escorted vehicle movements for essential trips, often work or health related.
“The problem with taking to the roads during a legal road closure is that an accident can lead to the driver being prosecuted, as happened in 2012.
Alex Smeaton, of Holt Lodge, also backed the race.“My business benefited hugely from the Etape Cymru with lots of participants and spectators staying, eating and drinking with us over the weekend,” he said.
“The slight inconvenience of closed roads was nothing compared to the huge economic benefit the event brought to the area.”