Cycling event leaves a muddy mess in Brighton East Park

Cycling event leaves a muddy mess in Brighton East Park

The tracks in East Brighton Park need a fix after a cycling charity event left mixed weeds and muddy paths in the field.

More than 300 cyclists took part in a cyclocross event at Brighton Miter Cycling Club on Sunday.

Despite heavy rain over the past week, Brighton and Hove City Council decided not to cancel the event. A representative from British Cycling also inspected the course earlier.

It was the third time the event had been held at East Brighton Park since 2018. The club say it will help pay for the repairs, and the board has apologized, but said the damage is superficial.

Brighton East Council member Nancy Platts, who also helps organize the weekly Park Run event, said she was “disappointed” at allowing the event to continue.

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Cllr Platts said, “It’s council territory, so my understanding is that if the council thought it would be dangerous or cause damage, they could say they couldn’t go ahead because the weather was so bad. They could have done it.”

“Maybe the regulators themselves could have looked at the ground and said ‘we’re going to cancel it.

“During the Park Run event, we reverse the path during the winter so we don’t use areas where it’s really muddy so people don’t fall.

“The danger now is that it is already so swampy that it starts to become dangerous because a lot of people are going to slip.

“I’ve had a lot of people write to me because they usually walk their dogs, kids use the park and we have fitness groups that use the park regularly and the vast areas of it are now just mud.

“I just don’t think it’s okay to turn a garden into a mud bath and I think a lot of people were really shocked by that.”

Claire Johnson of Brighton Miter Cycling Club said: “The feedback from the participants, including many local kids, has been great as has been from the local businesses involved in the event (such as the café) so we would be very disappointed if our event had a negative impact. on other events happening in the park.

“Cycling is a fun and healthy activity that should be encouraged but also Park Run and since 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 in East Brighton Park was also in the fall in wet conditions but while there was some damage to the grass it wasn’t as widespread as on the occasion.

“However, there were also complaints after the previous event about the condition of the grass but, then, as now, the grass will come back faster than people realize.

“In the end, there will always be a risk of some short term damage to the turf from any event that sees large groups of people congregate in a small space – concerts, prides etc. Getting the right balance between enjoying each event and using the subsequent theme park.

For any future events, we welcome the opportunity to work with the council and any other stakeholders to ensure it continues in a sustainable manner, eg holding the event earlier in the year when there is a greater chance of drought conditions.

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

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

A council spokesperson said: “We understand the concerns people have about the trails in Brighton East Park following this weekend’s cycling event.

“We have seriously considered canceling the event due to the weather.

“But we decided it should go ahead because it was a hugely valuable and popular charitable event that enabled hundreds of people young and old to enjoy the outdoors and improve their health and well-being.

“We now know the trails are in need of some repair and we apologize to the park users who have been affected by this.

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

But eventually the damage is relatively superficial and the grasslands and trails will recover.

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

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