SAFETY concerns have been raised about changes to a controversial road rally which would see cars speed through a residential street.

The first ever closed road rally in England saw 6,000 people descend on the district in April.

The Corbeau Seats motor rally, organised by Chelmsford Motor Club, was the first to make use of a new legislation which allows closed road motorsport in England.

The rally saw more than 100 competitors race 45 miles around five special stages across the district, including from Tendring Green to Stones Green, Bradfield, Lawford to Little Bromley, Great Bromley and Great Bentley.

But it is proposed that next year’s event – which would need to be authorised by the Motor Sports Association – could be extended up to 60 miles to include Wix and more spectator areas.

Tendring Council set up a task group to scrutinise the event and make recommendations before next year’s event, planned for April 28.

A report, which went before the council’s community leadership committee on Monday, said: “The group recognises that there are mixed feelings about the rally with some very supportive of it whilst others absolutely do not want it ever to be repeated.

“The group has had sight of the proposed route for 2019 and notes there is now a stage that proposes to pass through Wix. It is of concern that this passes through a residential area and appears to have implications for access to the A120.”

The group said it was imperative that a consultation is undertaken by organisers with all affected residents.

Committee chairman Dan Land said: “As a committee we feel there should be a clear steer from Tendring Council’s cabinet as to whether we fully 100per cent get behind this event or we remain as a back seat consultee.

“The safety of Tendring residents is our main concern.”

Mike Bush, committee member and Tendring councillor for Great and Little Oakley, said everyone affected by the race needs to be consulted this year.

He added: “Our concern without a doubt is safety.

“This will be the first time it goes through a proper residential area, it is a concern.”

The report highlighted that feedback from parish councils was mixed with some residents “unequivocally against” the event being repeated.

Residents complained race cars caused disruption even before the event while undertaking reconnaissance of the route and landowners complained about trespassing. The group has recommended Essex Highways and police consider actions to prevent speeding taking place.

Mick Skeels, cabinet member for tourism, said there was a “wonderful atmosphere” and the event was a boost for the district’s economy.