A PARK in the middle of Bournemouth’s most deprived area is about to get a £22,500 facelift.

Churchill Gardens park in Boscombe will benefit from new play equipment, picnic facilities and planting as the council seeks to clean-up the area.

Boscombe Central, where the park is situated, is officially the most deprived area in the south west region, according to national figures. It is also the 113th most deprived area in the country.

The improvements include: • The creation of a toddlers’ play trail, with wooden play animals, bridge, stepping stones and balance beam.

• The removal of old fencing from the perimeter of the park.

• A new improved park entrance, including new railings and path.

• New grass and safety matting under the climbing frame.

• The installation of a new basket swing.

• The installation of two new picnic tables and bike racks.

The work will start on Monday and will be complete by the school summer holidays at the end of July.

Last week, the Echo featured a drawing done by a child who lives close to Churchill Gardens.

He had drawn images of a prostitute, a fight and a man urinating in public – things he said he saw from his bedroom window.

Cllr Jane Kelly, cabinet member for partnerships and regeneration, said there were ambitious plans to transform the area.

“Churchill Gardens is a well-used and popular outdoor space and following residents’ feedback we want to do all we can to make improvements there to make it even better,” she said.

“This is just one of the many projects set to improve and tackle some of the issues that face Boscombe.”

Strategy for regeneration

CHURCHILL Gardens is the first target in the council’s sights as it seeks to regenerate Boscombe.

The draft Boscombe Housing Strategy, which is about to go out to public consultation, describes the square as a “hub for HMO’s” with 86 properties, subdivided into 345 homes. The vast majority of these – 191 – are bedsits, just 13 are family homes.

The action plan for the area includes plans to carry out more inspections of privately-rented accommodation in the area to drive up standards, convert 76 bedsits into self-contained flats, bring an empty HMO back into use, refurbish the exterior of all 86 properties, try and increase the number of owner occupiers and try and rehouse families that are in overcrowded accommodation.

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