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A campaign has been launched against music festivals in Stanmer Park after the area was left like a “mud bath” and a “rubbish tip” following an event this summer.

The Stanmer Preservation Society say significant damage was caused to the site in the South Downs after thousands of revellers flocked to the Shakedown Festival on October 6.

Now an online petition addressed to Brighton and Hove City Council’s event manager Ian Taylor has collected more than 150 signatures of support.

Jenny Lyon, from the Stanmer Preservation Society, said grassland and wildlife have been affected and some areas of the park are still inaccessible to walkers and villagers.

She continued: “The problem is that the park was closed for five or six days before the event and when it had finished it was a real mud bath and was a rubbish tip.

"We are not anti-pop festivals or against people having a good time, but there are alternative venues in the city, such as the Amex stadium for example or farmer’s land, where the event can take place.

“Apart from the damage to the land the noise from the festival also frightens wildlife.

“The Shakedown organisers are also applying for a three day festival for next year and we are worried it will set a precedent for other events to be held there.”

'Sorry state'

Councillor Christina Summer, who represents Hollingdean and Stanmer Ward, has supported the campaign and signed the petition.

She said: “Stanmer Park is different to the other parks in the city. They would perhaps be best described as municipal where as Stanmer Park is part of the beautiful South Downs National Park and is unique.

“It was left in a sorry state at the end of the last festival and it still isn’t in good shape now.

“Whilst events like Shakedown Festival in themselves are great for the city, I feel it would be inappropriate to continue using Stanmer Park for future events.”

This year’s Shakedown Festival saw nearly 20,000 partygoers enjoying music from the likes of Katy B and Dizzee Rascal.

Matt Priest, promoter for Shakedown Festival, said the festival took place at the end of one of the wettest summers on record which contributed towards damage to the site.

Bad weather

He continued: “It’s our job as event organisers to repair it and it’s also in our contract with the council, so we’re not hiding away from it.

“The difficult problem is that bad weather since the festival has hampered our efforts to try and restore the area to its natural state.

“We are in the process of levelling the ground back to how it was and are reseeding the ground with special warming techniques to try and speed up the process, but we’re just waiting for a break in the weather.

“It is unfortunate that the park has had some damage and like everybody else we are anxious to get it back to how it was and we will do that.

“I will add that we’ve worked out that Shakedown Festival contributed around £250,000 directly to the Brighton economy and anything up to a further £250,000 indirectly to Brighton businesses, such as hotels and after party venues, because of the event.

The petition can be found at www.tinyurl.com/notostanmerpop or by visiting the Stanmer Tea Rooms.

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