PARTS of Hadleigh Castle Country Park will be closed for part of two summers while work is done to make it more secure for the Olympic mountain biking event in 2012.

Footpath 28, which crosses Fitzwilliam Road and the Chapel Lane car park, will be shut for six weeks over July and August of 2011 and 2012.

Access to nearby Salvation Army land and a small part of the country park itself will also be blocked while the area is set up for for a “test event” next year.

Essex County Council is asking for the closures as part of its application to Castle Point Council for planning permission for the bike course. The work will be paid for by the Olympics’ London Organising Committee.

County council spokesman Nicola Spicer said local people would be consulted on the closures and added: “We will be working to minimise the length of any footpath closures.

“However as an Olympic venue, security is paramount, so it will be necessary to limit access for a time.

“The specific periods will be publicised closer to the time, along with alternative arrangements for the Chapel Lane car park.”

Some residents are worried about the closures and work ahead of the event, including the widening of Chapel Lane.

Maddie Cowley, 44, of Falbro Crescent, Hadleigh, walks her dog in the country park, Chapel Lane and the surrounding area.

She said: “It’s one of the most tranquil parts of Hadleigh and very historic. It changes every season and if that was destroyed in any way, it would be a tragedy. The views are really special. I don’t see why we need to lose all that for a single three-day event.”

Andrea Gabriel, of Castle Lane, Hadleigh, has also lodged an objection to the application.

She said: “Many people like the area just as it is because they are keen birdwatchers, or they also like the tranquility. The mountain bike track will destroy this unique feeling of tranquility in an otherwise urbanised environment.”