PANDEMONIUM hit Hadleigh as hundreds of parents and school children showed up for a school sporting event, causing chaos on surrounding roads.

Essex County Council agreed the former Olympic venue, in Chapel Lane could play host to a school games event last Friday after plans to hold it in Danbury Park fell through due to heavy snowfall that month.

The council was assured only 600 young athletes from 14 schools would be transported to the venue in three separate coaches.

However, each school had invited every parent of every child to watch, causing hundreds of cars to descend on the park leaving residential roads filled to breaking point.

Both the main car park and overflow car park at Hadleigh Farm were filled to capacity, leaving drivers queuing to get in for 45 minutes and parking in side streets in a bid to get in.

Stewards on the site were unable to cope with the influx of traffic and worried residents even turned to the police after being unable to get out of their driveways.

Barry Fountain, of Chapel Lane, Hadleigh, said: “Cars were parking everywhere on both sides of the lane, buses couldn’t get through, it was absolutely ridiculous.

“I rang the police and asked them to come down because it was getting so out of hand. What worries me was if there was an accident here or a fire, as there was no way the ambulances and emergency services could have got through.

“Why weren’t we warned this event was going to happen?”

Around 40,000 sports fans travelled to Hadleigh Farm last August to watch the Olympic Mountain Biking Event, however the vast majority of visitors travelled by rail or by foot.

The matter has raised concerns over the £6.8million legacy plans for the site, which could see up to 400,000 people visiting the country park every year.

A spokeswoman from Essex County Council said: “Essex County Council’s 2012 Legacy Team had original planned to host a School Games event at Danbury park on 18th March 2013. However due to the heavy snow a late venue change was required and with agreement from the Salvation Army, the event was held at Hadleigh Farm.

“ECC were expecting 600 young children to attend the event from the 14 different School Sports partnerships across Essex, Southend and Thurrock and had put in place the required procedures to handle these numbers.

“However, without prior notice, parents and friends also arrived at the event causing minor delays in traffic entering the venue to park. ECC have engaged over 4,000 children in the School Games initiative, which is one of the legacy strands from the London 2012 Games, since the scheme started in September last year.

“The attendance at this event is testament the enthusiasm of Essex residents in engaging young people in more sport.

“As part of the legacy plans for the Hadleigh Farm venue, ECC are looking at initiatives to mitigate any issues or disturbance to local residents with regards to parking once the venue is open up to the public.”