Residents have been left bemused after their local postboxes were blocked because a road was deemed too dangerous to access by the Royal Mail due to roadworks.

Rottingdean homeowners say they can’t understand why Royal Mail workers will not be emptying postboxes outside their homes for the next few weeks while roadworks are carried out in the village.

The move to tape up the boxes in Dean Court Road and Northfield Rise in Rottingdean was taken last week to coincide with major roadworks carried out by Southern Gas Networks.

Residents say the road diversions haven’t stopped recycling and refuse services reaching them, or even post being delivered to their door, so can’t understand why their postboxes can’t be emptied as well.

The changes affect up to 250 residents, some of whom now have to walk more than a kilometre to get to their nearest postbox.

Brian and Grace Hunt contacted the Royal Mail complaints office and received an email reply stating that “staff have been advised not to enter the road whilst the work is being carried out due to health and safety reasons”.

Mr Hunt, 80, said: “I tried to post a letter on Tuesday and much to my surprise the postbox was covered over in Dean Court Road.

“It’s absolute madness, the road is perfectly accessible.

“If they have to shut down the postboxes because of health and safety then surely it’s not safe for us to leave our homes and they’ll have to organise food deliveries.

“My wife and I are incandescent about this.”

A small stretch of The Green in Rottingdean will be closed for two weeks as part of a £225,000 project to fit new plastic gas pipes.

A second phase of the project will begin on Saturday when the works will move to nearby Vicarage Lane.

Rottingdean Coastal Conservative councillor Lynda Hyde said: “This really is a case of health and safety gone mad.

“I’ve asked the Post Office to explain themselves but I’m still awaiting a response.”

Royal Mail spokesperson Valerie Antoine said: “We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.”

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman said some changes to refuse and recycling collection had been made to properties along The Green, but those in Dean Court Road and Northfield Rise have not been affected.

She added: “Containers for recycling and refuse will be placed on the opposite side of The Green where vehicles have access and letters are being sent to the properties this week explaining how we will provide services to the homes over the next few weeks.”