A LOAN of £97,000 has been agreed to fund a project to replace an unfit-for-purpose play area in Beaminster.

West Dorset District Council’s full council considered the request from Beaminster Town Council to provide a loan of £97,078 to transform a disused play area in Memorial Playing Field.

The loan to Beaminster Town Council will be at a Base Rate plus one per cent, to be repaid no later than March 31, 2019.

This loan is subject to grant funding approval of up to £80,000 by the Southern Dorset Local Action Group (SDLAG).

The SDLAG is an organisation that allocates grant funding to rural business and community group projects in the South Dorset area.

It requires a decision by January 8 2018 that full funding is in place for this project before they commit to their grant funding element.

The promise of £80,000 grant funding is subject to confirmation that full funding of the project is in place.

A tender of £97,078 has already been accepted by Beaminster Town Council for the play area project. Subject to funding being agreed by both West Dorset District Council and SDLAG, the play area project is due to begin in April 2018 and take approximately eight weeks.

On completion of the project SDLAG will reimburse Beaminster Town Council a grant of £80,000.

For the project, Beaminster Town Council has engaged the services of Aileen Shackell who is a landscape designer for Sport England. 

Ms Shackell’s design will include a new roundabout carousel, a new multi-play unit, new swings, relocation of current equipment that is in good condition and a skate park.

Speaking at the meeting Leader of the council, Cllr Tony Alford, said: “I support the work they are doing here. I support this and I hope the council makes the right decision.”

Cllr Molly Rennie added: “This does seem to be an excellent idea. The one question I have is where will they get the £17,000 that they will need to repay the council?”

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Janet Page of Beaminster Town Council said the council have been fundraising to meet the £17,000 shortfall.

Cllr Page added that the council are waiting to hear from SDLAG.