Heavy rain that left a Brighton park waterlogged and muddy was “unprecedented”, according to a fairground family who have operated on the site for decades.

Cousins James and Bill Cole were speaking about The Level after checking on the ground condition there after complaints from Fairlight Primary School’s headteacher Damien Jordan.

Mr Jordan said that the park where his pupils played football on Friday mornings was out of action because it had become too muddy.

But the Coles, part of a fairground family from Sussex that has operated the funfair at The Level for more than 60 years, said that they would not have moved on to the site if it was muddy.


During the Coronation weekend, though, a deluge of rain left the Brighton park waterlogged, delaying the fair’s departure.

The heavy rain meant that the fair did not move on to Victoria Park, in Portslade, as they would usually do because it would risk damaging the ground.

Bill Cole said: “There was 104 per cent higher than average rainfall. We did work considerably hard to deal with it.

“It was dry when we came on. If it was as wet as it became when we arrived, we would have cancelled.

“We’ve never had anything like this before. We took extra days to come off.

“There’s been a lot of improvement over the last few days and, with a grass cut, it will be fine.”

Before the fair’s vehicles move on to the site, he said, workers put down hard surfacing to ensure the ground is not churned into ruts as they move on and off-site.

Bill Cole said that his teams took extra care to ensure that the ground was not damaged as they came off the site in a quagmire of mud and rainwater.

The cousins were upset by Mr Jordan’s comments in an email to Brighton and Hove City Council that the “pointless” fair had put The Level out of action for more than a month.

James Cole said: “It’s very hurtful. We have young people come here with special needs, people who enjoy it. It’s not a pointless fair.

“All the businesses around here know us and welcome us. The Level isn’t out of action for a month. It’s not unusable.”

The Level is notorious for flooding. The underground and culverted Wellesbourne and Winterbourne rivers converge at the southern end of the site.

Mr Jordan said that he met councillors and parks staff at The Level to discuss access for his school’s football players.

In an email to the council, he said: “The fair being on The Level means the local community have little if any access to the grass facilities for several weeks at different points of the year.

“And this time, once again, the state of The Level after the fair has left now means it will be out of action for weeks, if not longer.

“For inner-city children, this outdoor space should be prioritised to be used as much as possible and for activities that are free.”