Cycling event leaves muddy mess in East Brighton Park

Posted On 09 Nov 2022 at 11:45 am

Paths in East Brighton Park need repair after a charity cycling event left churned grass and muddy paths on the field.

More than 300 cyclists took part in Brighton Mitre Cycling Club’s cyclocross event on Sunday.

Despite heavy rain over the previous week, Brighton and Hove City Council decided not to call off the event. A representative of British Cycling also inspected the course beforehand.

This was the third time the event has taken place at East Brighton Park since 2018. The club says it will help pay for the cost of repairs, and the council has apologised, but said the damage is superficial.

East Brighton Councillor Nancy Platts, who also helps organise the weekly Park Run event said she was “disappointed” the event was allowed to go ahead.

Cllr Platts said: “It’s council land, so my understanding is that normally if the council thought it was going to be dangerous or that it was going to cause damage they could say it can’t go ahead because the weather is too bad. They could have done that.

“Perhaps the organisers themselves could have looked at the ground and said ‘We’re going to call it off.’

“During the Park Run event we reverse the course during winter so we don’t use the areas where it gets really muddy so people don’t fall over.

“The risk is now that it’s already such a quagmire that it starts to get dangerous because too many people will slip.

“I’ve had loads of people write to me because they normally walk their dog, kids use the park and we’ve got fitness groups who regularly use the park and massive areas of it now are just mud.

“I just don’t think it’s acceptable to turn the park into that mud bath and I think a lot of people are really shocked by it.”

Clare Johnson from Brighton Mitre Cycling Club said: “The feedback from the participants, including many local children, was fantastic as was that from local businesses involved in the event (such as the café) so we’re very disappointed if our event has a negative impact upon other events that take place in the park.

“Cycling is a fun and healthy activity which should be encouraged but so too is Park Run and given a lot of our members are also park runners, we want to be able to coexist happily in the same space.

“The last time this event was held at East Brighton Park was also in the autumn in wet conditions but while there was some damage to the grass, it was not as widespread as on this occasion.

“That said, there were also complaints after the previous event about the state of the grass but, then as now, the grass will return faster than people realise.

“Ultimately, there will always be a risk of some short-term damage to grass from any event that sees large groups of people congregate in a small space – concerts, Pride etc. and team sport fixtures, such as the Rugby pitch in Hove Recreation Ground and it’s a case of getting the balance correct between the enjoyment of each event and subsequent park use.

“As for any future events, we would welcome the opportunity to work with the council and any other stakeholders to ensure it can continue in a sustainable way, for example holding the event earlier in the year when there is a higher chance of dry conditions.

“The council has indicated that there will be a small additional charge to cover some of the cost of ground repairs.”

Only one competitor was injured, but no further treatment was necessary according to the on-site first aid team.

A council spokesperson said: “We understand the concerns people are feeling about the paths at East Brighton park following the cycling event at the weekend.

“We gave serious consideration to calling the event off because of the weather.

“But we decided it should go ahead because it was a very valued and popular charity event that enabled hundreds of people young and old to enjoy the outdoors and improve their health and wellbeing.

“We know the paths now need some repair and we apologise to park users who are being affected by this.

“We will need to do some repair work and this will take place when the ground is drier.

“But ultimately the damage is relatively superficial and the grass land and paths will recover.

“Our parks are for residents and visitors to enjoy and there is space for everyone.”

  1. Chris Reply

    Luckily it grows back ! Nothing to see here folks …

    • Mark Reply

      Oh Chris, but they must have many many meeting to discuss the options of nature. Which will cost the tax pay lots of money.

    • Charles Obscure Reply

      Like it did in the Valley Gardens

  2. Daniel Reply

    You literally can’t arrange anything in public without some busybody moaning that it gets in the way of their favourite dog walking route. The event was only last weekend and the ground looks better already – It’s really not hard to avoid the muddy bits and like any sports pitch the grass will spring up very quickly when they’re not getting used. I almost get the feeling some people don’t want it to grow back quickly because then they’ll have more reason to moan. Soon we won’t be allowed to do anything except go for a walk because someone will complain they don’t like the look of it.

  3. Mark Graves Reply

    The story is “park muddy in November”. Hundreds of children and their families enjoyed a great day in the rain when the park would have been deserted. The cafe made money when it would have been deserted. The grass has already come back and where is the cost? Maybe we should spend millions on a dedicated cycle track to be used once a year instead?

  4. karl Reply

    Councillor Nancy Platts obviously has no idea about cyclo-cross. Falling off is part of cyclo-cross. Sounds like she is disappointed it may inconvenience her park run slightly. Everyone looked at the weather and thought it was going to be a muddy race. The grass will grow back. It was a really good course. Lots of people spent money in the cafe and local businesses. If won’t cost the tax payer a penny.

  5. Eric Carter Reply

    Unfortunately it’s hard to use public spaces when there’s ALWAYS a kneejerk reaction from certain people who oppose everything.
    On Sunday it was “this is disgraceful it will cost the council a fortune”
    By Monday it was “ok, it won’t cost the council anything but it will be MONTHS before it’s back to normal”
    On Tuesday it was “ok, it will only be a couple of weeks before it’s recovered but in that time we’ll have to cancel Parkrun”
    On Wednesday it was “ok, Parkrun can go ahead but it still looks horrible”
    By Thursday it’s “ok, so most of it looks fine now, but I’m still suffering the impact of how SHOCKED I was by how it looked three days ago”

    • Chris Reply

      So true. I enjoyed your post Eric. Thank you for a smile today.

  6. Rob Gator Reply

    Been there today and can’t see what the fuss is about. It looks nothing like the photos. Is this a news story about the park being muddy for two days?

    • Car Delenda Est Reply

      It’s a story about a Labour councillor using any excuse to take potshots at cyclists.

      • Rob Gator Reply

        Looks like she is a councillor, the self appointed head of the “friends” group and also in charge of the parkrun. So when she objects to other people using the park she speaks for herself, as a councillor, and voices the “official” view on behalf of parkrun and the Friends group. Too much power in one person’s hands

      • Phoebe Barrera Reply

        Nancy and her husband don’t have a car, promotes active travel, and makes use of buses. Why are pro-cycling activists so paranoidly defensive if anyone says anything about their obsession?

        • Colin Davison Reply

          Within 5 hours of the event finishing Nancy had a full blown social media campaign going, with followers encouraged to write to the council complaining about the event to get it stopped in future. No attempt to connect with anyone involved to have a discussion first. Totally undermining the huge amount of work done by local volunteers to run an event like this. But sure, you just hand-wavingly dismiss anyone who pushes back against that as a paranoid cycle ‘activist’ who can’t stand anyone criticising their ‘obsession.’

  7. Cyclist, walker, runner, car driver, human being Reply

    Just 5 days later and the grass is vastly improved, parkrun is going ahead, nothing to worry about! Let’s just stop this ‘us and them’ rhetoric it’s utterly ridiculous and entitled.

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