A GRANT of more than £70,000 has been handed to a town to improve facilities for children,

After four years of hard work by the community, everything is now in place to get started on transforming the children’s play area at Memorial Playing Field in Beaminster.

The town council announced yesterday that the Southern Dorset Local Action Group (SDLAG) has awarded £73,663 to the Beaminster Activity Area Development Group (BAAD) for the play area project. The total cost of the scheme is expected to be around £95,000.

Cllr Janet Page, of Beaminster Town Council, said she was thrilled at the news.

Project landscape architect Aileen Shackell has already drawn up designs, a contract has been awarded to Parsons Landscaping and it is hoped the play area might be up and running by this summer.

The 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.

West Dorset District Council approved a loan of £97,078 to the town council in January. The SDLAG funding is paid retrospectively, when the project is completed.

Cllr Page said the project has been a real community effort, with young people and residents all getting involved to achieve something positive for the town.

Meanwhile BAAD continue to work on the Skate Park Project that is currently subject to a planning application. This project however was not part of the funding application to SDLAG therefore the Town Council are working on funding elsewhere for this project, anticipated cost in the region of £120,000.

Sir Christopher Lees, chairman of the Southern Dorset Local Action Group, said “Good facilities build good community spirit and having a wonderful play area for all is one of these. Beaminster Area Activity Development has proved to the Southern Dorset LAG that there is universal support for this project and we are proud to assist this endeavour with European Funding.”