A NEW play facility could be built at Upton Country Park next year as part of a wider plan to improve the area.

Details of the proposed new attraction are yet to be revealed, however in a report to a Poole councillor funding of £230,000 for the project is recommended.

If approved by Cllr John Rampton, cabinet portfolio holder for environment and open spaces, construction of the play facility could start at the beginning of next year, with completion earmarked for the spring.

Kevin McErlane, head of culture and community services, outlined the benefits of the proposal in a report to Cllr Rampton.

“The play facility will greatly enhance the visitor experience, engage a wide demographic and increase dwell time on site,” he said.

“The bespoke, free play experience will stimulate challenging, educational and creative play with a strong focus on natural, heritage and environmental themes.”

Last year, Poole council’s cabinet approved a forward plan for Upton Country Park until 2020. It sets out a vision to “sympathetically enhance the park to enable increased recreational use”.

The area, which features a 200-year-old, Georgian style house, formal gardens, parkland, woodland, and tenanted farmland, receives over 685,000 visitors annually according to the council.

Improvements to play facilities have received strong community support, Mr McErlane said in his report, with children’s activities and events accounting for more than 20 per cent of visits.

“Subject to approval, procurement could commence in autumn 2018. Environmental Services will project manage the procurement and installation of the play area on behalf of the Upton Country Park Team,” he said.

The design and supply of play equipment will be delivered by a specialist contractor, while installation will be undertaken by the borough’s Street Scene Team.

Funding for the project will derive from developer contributions including Community Infrastructure Levy – a charge which can be applied to development across the borough to help fund infrastructure.

“The selection of play equipment will stipulate the use of sustainable materials with a focus on ease of maintenance and longevity,” Mr McErlane said.

Cllr Rampton will make a decision on whether to approve the proposals for the new play facility on Thursday.