THE closure of a busy New Forest road could cause chaos - as it is set to clash with a popular cycling event.

As reported by the Daily Echo, a stretch of Christchurch Road in Ringwood will be closed off from Saturday for several weeks while Hampshire County Council carries out drainage improvement works.

While the signposted diversion route sends road users on an 18-mile detour, most local motorists are likely to cut through Moortown and Crow to limit the inconvenience.

However, the Wiggle Bournemouth Sportive ride is set to see hundreds of cyclists travel along the same road throughout Sunday morning.

Riders are due to set off from Chapel Gate in Christchurch between 7.30am and 9.15am, before cycling across the Avon Causeway and up to Ringwood.

Town, district and county councillor Michael Thierry said the situation was "most regrettable", admitting it was an alarming state of affairs.

"This cycle ride in years gone by has been a cause of deep concern for residents," Cllr Thierry said.

"It is not a criticism of the organisers, it is some of the riders involved. I have experienced this with some being abusive to me. I was driving along and had to slow down because there was something in front of me and I had riders behind me getting annoyed.

"Quite clearly this is a situation that needs to be managed by the Wiggle organisers. If necessary they need to ensure the area around the roadworks at Moortown and Crow is well marshalled.

"I have misgivings about this situation, but it is too late for them to change the route and there is no way the roadworks will be adjusted."

The prospect of the roadworks on Christchurch Road have already caused frustrations for residents and businesses in the area.

This only worsened when earlier this week engineers carried out work at 8.15pm.

Ringwood Town Council posted on Facebook that Hampshire County Council had not sent out any pre-warnings that any work would take place before Saturday.

The work in question on Tuesday involved digging a trial hole and carrying out a ground penetration radar survey.

Cllr Thierry admitted Hampshire Highways should have informed the town council about the work and warnings sent out to residents in the locality.