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Cheese chasers face exclusion zone around Cooper's Hill slope

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 07, 2014

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Gloucestershire cheese rolling

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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.

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“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.

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21 comments

  • Randwick_Resi  |  May 09 2014, 1:46PM

    No one's tried to ban cheese rolling and the competitors all know and accept the risks, as I did when I competed. The committee stopped organising the event because they didn't want to pay for proper insurance for all the thousands of people that went to watch it. When is everyone going to accept it's got nothing to do with the cheese rollers, it's about the public safety. If people go and throw themsleves down a hill and get hurt they've got no one to blame but themselves. But it is dangerous to have thousands of people corralled up the side of the slope. All it takes is for someone at the top to slip and a domino effect and you could get a serious crowd collapse and injuries. The smaller the crowd the safer it is. Long live the cheese roll, but keep it local.

  • RoadWombat  |  May 09 2014, 12:47AM

    North Glos EPC - I'm 100% with you on your nanny state and PC stance. However, that's not the case here - the police have no interest in the cheese-rolling one way or the other. Their only concern is that roads are kept clear so that emergency vehicles can get through if someone gets injured (which is rather likely, don't you think?). Let's say someone was concussed and died because an ambulance couldn't get through - everyone would blame them for not keeping the roads clear. As you rightly say, people participate at their own risk; nothing they do is illegal, so it can't be 'banned', even if someone wanted to try. The only legal risk anyone runs is if one of the participants gets injured (or someone watching gets hit by an out-of-control runner) and tries to sue someone. They can't sue an 'organiser' because there isn't one! They might then turn on the cheese maker, so all the police were doing was telling her that she might be a potential target, that's all. By keeping the roads clear, everyone can make their way there on foot without causing traffic problems or danger and everyone is happy!

  • North Glos EPC  |  May 08 2014, 5:06PM

    What a sad over protective nanny state, politically correct, litigation obsessed society we now live in. Where the Police close roads just because a traditional eccentric sporting event does not meet with their approval. They've even tried threaten old ladies who make the cheeses, disgraceful. I'm sure that if all cheese rolling enthusiasts were clear that they participate at their own risk there wouldn't be any real problems. But no, killjoy big brother has to stick his spoke in to something that has been going on, pretty much problem free, for many many years. Next year I'd love to see a Spanish style bull run through Gloucester just for the Council Officials and the Senior Police who want to ban Cheese Rolling. I think many of us would enjoy that.

  • MikeMorrisOBE  |  May 07 2014, 9:44PM

    This County has always seen fit to mention the cheese roll when promoting the county, it was for years mentioned on their website. Now that some financial input is needed, they've washed their hands of the event, and are now using the police as traffic wardens. If it was the Tetbury sack race in trouble, money would be found to make sure it went ahead. Roll on brothers and sisters, roll on.

  • MikeMorrisOBE  |  May 07 2014, 9:33PM

    This County has always seen fit to mention the cheese roll when promoting the county, it was for years mentioned on their website. Now that some financial input is needed, they've washed their hands of the event, and are now using the police as traffic wardens, no doubt to carry on the bullying that they started last year with the lady that makes the cheese. If it was the Tetbury sack race in trouble, money would be found to make sure it went ahead. Roll on brothers and sisters, roll on.

  • bdbear  |  May 07 2014, 8:53PM

    Why are the police being used for parking problems , they always ignore them in Gloucester and Cheltenham . I am glad they are not being used to arrest people taking part in an age old tradition or is that next . Best of luck to all the chasers

  • spindles12  |  May 07 2014, 4:26PM

    As someone who stained a fractured femur last week from just slipping in the garden, I can only think that anyone who throws themselves down a steep incline for the "glory" of winning has to be short of a few marbles. A broken leg and the subsequent operation is VERY painful and takes months to full recovery, not to forget the costs to the NHS. If they were told that any injury they get from the cheese roll will have to be paid for privately I wonder if there would be quite the enthusiasm that there usually is.

  • BenefitsRUs1  |  May 07 2014, 2:55PM

    The sooner they cancel this nonsensical event the better. What better way to make the local population look like a bunch of carrot crunching, ooohhh ahhh wurzels, than have this publicised outside the county. Remember this was started generations ago by the gentry for their amusement, to watch the hungry surfs running down the hill after a piece of rotten cheese. You just have to look at the type of people that take part, the cheese has more IQ.

  • AnotherPeter  |  May 07 2014, 2:02PM

    If people barge through and make there own way the police can't stop everyone.

    |   -23
  • NibNobs  |  May 07 2014, 2:02PM

    In other words.....non-locals welcome but leave more time to get there and NO parking on the pavements! Try the bus...it won't hurt you! Local families will, of course walk up there as they always have and leave their cars at home.

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