RESIDENTS of Castlemorton face being "imprisoned" in their own homes for much of Saturday while a motor rally takes place.

The event, organised by the Cheltenham Motor Club, is the Three Shires Stages.

It is based at the Eastnor estate, but includes rural lanes around the Malvern Hills and Castlemorton Common, which will be closed to normal traffic while the rally takes place.

County councillor Tom Wells says he only learned about the event on Wednesday, when concerned constituents got in touch with him.

He wrote immediately to Worcestershire County Council's head of legal services Simon Mallinson to ask a series of questions.

These include: "Were parish councils consulted?, Has a thorough safety assessment been undertaken?, and Will noise and other nuisances be closely monitored and dealt with?

As of yesterday, Cllr Wells said he had not yet received formal replies to his questions.

He said: "Residents were absolutely astonished to hear that this event was happening and they hadn't been informed about it.

"Some did receive a letter from the race organisers warning them, but the letter also warned them that under no circumstances should they disclose the route to any other persons, and they were afraid to speak up.

"This isn't like the Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb, with vintage vehicles moving at relatively sedate speeds. These are modern rally cars going really fast through these country lanes which are really narrow with lots of tight bends.

"I'm really worried about the danger to local people, spectators and the livestock on the common. People have been killed at events like this."

He said that in communication with one resident, the organisers said residents "can move between approximately 10am-10.45am and 1pm to 1.35pm".

He said: "They are effectively imprisoned in their own homes from much of the day. This isn't on."

A notice of the closures that appeared in last week's Malvern Gazette listed Gullet Road, Plough Road and New Road, all in Castlemorton, as those which will be closed.

A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council said: “The Three Shires Stage Rally in Castlemorton is being managed by Cheltenham Motor Club along with their traffic management company, SEP Events.

“An event management plan was submitted and approved by the Safety Advisory Group which includes Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire Councils, West Mercia and Gloucestershire Police, Hereford and Worcester Fire and West Midlands Ambulance Service.

“Local consultation was undertaken by the event organiser, and those with properties fronting the event were visited during this consultation. A notice of closure was also printed in the Malvern Gazette.

“Worcestershire County Council has facilitated road closures, and is not the event promoter. These closures are in line with legal orders, and similar closures will be in place with Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council.”

Duncan Bridges, chief executive of the Malvern Hills Trust: said: "We understand that the organisers of the event have been in touch with the owners of livestock to ensure they are off the common on the day of the event.

"The trust has been in contact with the club to seek assurances and measures to safeguard the common from any damage caused by the rally and trust staff will be monitoring the event.

"Parking on the common is not permitted as part of this event. Spectators must use the signed car park provided by the organisers off the common."