VILLAGERS fear they will become ‘prisoners’ in their own homes if country roads are closed for a national cycling race.

Dozens of people, inlcuding farmers and small business-owners, attended a public meeting to protest against organisers’ plans to close roads in Barley, Roughlee, and Blacko, on Sunday, June 27, when the National Road Race Championships take place.

They said the 12-hour closures, between 7am and 7pm, will leave them ‘trapped’ in their tiny rural villages.

Monday’s meeting, at Barley Village Hall, provided people with a chance to put questions to the organisers and see maps of the course.

Speaking after the meeting, May Dugdale, 65, of Narrowgate, Barley, said: “We’re not against the race, but there will be no way in, or out of the village.

"The organisers didn’t tell us about it first. They just went ahead and did it without any warning.

“Some people have to work at weekends. I run a laundrette in Burnley and I sometimes get called out on a Sunday.

"You just don’t know what is going to happen on that day.

"They cannot just shut the road because life does not stop. Farmers have livestock to see to.”

The championships, described as the FA Cup Final of the cycling calendar, are being held in Pendle for the first time.

Olympic medallists Bradley Wiggins and Colne’s Steven Burke will be up against riders including Tour de France winner Mark Cavendish.

Thousands of spectators are expected to line the streets of Pendleside to catch a glimpse of the riders.

Householders have been told they will not be able to park their cars in the road which, Mrs Dugdale, said will cause problems.

Stephen Barnes, Pendle’s chief executive said: “We are consulting with the public widely with the aim of identifying any issues of concern.

“Tourism in Pendle is worth £77million a year and this event will prove a welcome boost for lots of local businesses, many of which have suffered in the recession.”