Plans for military-style endurance race spark fears for local residents

Land at Holmbush Farm, Faygate SUS-160109-163010001
Land at Holmbush Farm, Faygate SUS-160109-163010001

A military-style endurance race due to be held on the edge of Horsham later this month has got local residents breaking out in a cold sweat.

The ‘Tough Mudder’ event is scheduled to take place at Holmbush Farm on the Holmbush Estate at Faygate over three days: September 17 and September 24/25.

But residents at Holmbush House - a former mansion converted into five separate homes on the estate - are worried that their privacy will be breached by runners going past their gardens.

And they fear that huge traffic problems could be caused in the area.

Up to 26,000 participants are expected over the three days.

Andrew Finnegan, representing residents at Holmbush House, said that, with onlookers, he feared around 40,000 people would be ‘pitching up. And they’ll be coming right up to our house.’

Tough Mudder itself is a 10-12-mile military-style obstacle course aimed at testing mental as well as physical strength.

Father-of-four Mr Finnegan, 46, a business consultant, says that organisers have erected one of the obstacles - a stack of haybales for people to climb over - overlooking his garden. “It’s unnecessary and invasive,” he said.

He added he was surprised that the event had not required planning permission.

But a council spokeswoman said the event did not need planning consent as it would not last more than 28 days. “Matters concerning traffic safety at the event are the responsibility of Sussex Police.”

Meanwhile, Giles Chater, European operations director at Tough Mudder said: “Tough Mudder is committed to providing top quality events around the UK which benefit local communities as well as event participants.”

He said the course had been carefully planned and the proximity of Holmbush House had been taken into account.

“We don’t expect residents to be unduly disturbed by the planned route of the course, but have taken their feedback on board and are currently considering ways to try and mitigate their concerns.

“We are not closing roads for our events, but will have a designated event lane in place on the A264 for all event days in order to protect the safety of local drivers whilst allowing access to the venue for our event participants, spectators, volunteers and staff.”

He added local residents would be able to access their main drive via the dedicated event lane on the A264 throughout both event weekends.

l A music festival - dubbed the Big Kahuna - was due to be held on the Holmbush Farm site earlier this year but was cancelled by the organisers.