FRUSTRATED drivers have slammed a "dangerous" road network as a “health and safety nightmare” after the return of a popular boot sale left them stuck in standstill traffic for hours.

Motorists were left stranded in long tailbacks of congestion near the Colchester Park and Ride on Sunday morning.

The issue also had an impact on the surrounding area, with drivers on the A12 and near the rugby club feeling the effects of the backlog.

Some believed the chaos was made worse due to the return of the boot sale at the park and ride site, which had not been held for the previous couple of weeks.

Since the the incident, residents have raised serious concerns over the area.

Chris Scott said he saw two ambulances “struggle to get on to the A12 due to the static traffic” and deemed it a “health and safety nightmare”.

“If this boot sale has outgrown this site due to the amount of people visiting, maybe a new site should be found,” he said.

Gazette: Site - the Colchester Park and Ride, which hosts the boot saleSite - the Colchester Park and Ride, which hosts the boot sale (Image: Newsquest)

Leanne Shingler, meanwhile, dubbed it a “joke”.

“It is not fair for those who need to get our kids to the rugby club for a game on a Sunday morning,” she said.

“Need to think of another alternative marketplace.”

The boot sale has been held for the last few years and is run by Capital Car Boot Sales.

Some residents believe the site has become more popular since the closure of the boot sale at Ardleigh.

There have also been proposals to host static car meets, drive-in cinemas and church services at the park and ride site.

Despite the concerns, Essex Highways insists “all necessary transport management, planning permissions, licensing and risk assessments are in place with businesses using the park and ride”.

However, there are now fears the Northern Gateway project will only make traffic issues in the area worse.

Gazette: Site - the Northern Gateway project will be opening this yearSite - the Northern Gateway project will be opening this year (Image: Newsquest)

Philip Behn said: “It’s not going to get any better until the bus companies open a bus route to service the new developments at the Northern Gateway.

“Otherwise, it’s cars, cars and more cars. Stane Park mark two.”

“This has to stop before the Leisure Park opens,” added Nick Bailey.

Colchester councillor Martin Goss said the issue has been raised with Essex County Council, adding he believes the event should stop due to its "constant issues".

Capital Car Boot Sales was contacted for comment.