CHEESE chasers face an uphill battle to tumble with tradition after authorities imposed an exclusion zone up to two-and-a-half miles wide around the famous Cooper’s Hill slope.
The Citizen can reveal that all roads leading to the unofficial cheeserolling on Bank Holiday Monday – May 26 – will be closed and parking restrictions imposed.
After Gloucestershire Constabulary enraged chasers last year by advising Birdwood cheese maker Diana Smart not to supply a Double Gloucester for the ancient event, the force and Gloucestershire County Council has tried a new approach.
Thirteen-time race winner Chris Anderson said road closures on the A46 from Ermin Street to Buckholt Road were uncalled for.
“It seems a bit much for all that,” said Chris, who won’t be competing, due to a leg injury. “They didn’t stop it happening last year and I don’t expect they will this year.”
That closure is the longest at just under two-and-a-half miles. Other closures are Green Street at the A46 junction to Cooper’s Hill Lane, the whole of Cooper’s Hill Lane and Nut Hill in Upton St Leonards.
No parking will be allowed on Ermin Street from Vicarage Road in Brockworth to the A46 Shurdington Road, on Cirencester Road between the A46 Shurdington Road to Birdlip and Shurdington Road to Ermin Street.
Daniel Tiffney, highways manager at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The cheeserolling on Coopers Hill is an unofficial event organised independently from the county council.
“However, based on experience from previous years, and after discussions with Gloucestershire police, there will be some temporary road closures and parking restrictions on May 26 to manage additional traffic and minimise disruption to local residents.”
A police spokesman said: “We support this measure, which will enable emergency vehicles to access the location if necessary and increase safety for pedestrians and road users.”
A council spokesman said businesses and residents will still be able to access closed roads and buses along the A46 will run as normal.