THE creation of a country park in Christchurch would leave a ‘legacy’ to residents from the council when it ceases to exist in April.

That’s was the message from officials as councillors at Christchurch debated the merits and pitfalls of the plan to get rid of the nine-hole golf course and create a new park between the Two Riversmeet course and Stanpit Recreation Ground.

The community committee met on Wednesday to discuss the plans, with concerns about toilet facilities and community engagement raised by members.

Strategic director David Barnes told the committee the proposal would “deliver something for the greater good of the community.”

“There is an opportunity to get it sorted quite quickly and I think bearing in mind we have Christchurch Borough Council ceasing to exist it might be a good legacy for this council to leave the people of Christchurch.”

Mr Barnes said the aim was to try and divert people away from Stanpit Marsh, which was not included in these plans.

He also said it would help with town centre viability and would be funded via developer contributions.

Responding to questions about where toilet facilities would be provided, Mr Barnes said public toilets already existed in Bridge Street and there were no issues with the public using the toilets at Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre.

Cllr Peter Hall, said: “It could be good for Christchurch but I think there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

“People feel it is being railroaded through at a rate of knots without public consultation and we want to make sure in the dying days of our council that we do things in line with the public’s request.”

Mr Barnes urged the committee to have some some conviction about their decision as they still had the power to make it.

He added: “Time is not on our side as a council...this is the situation that we are in.”

The committee approved the proposal to create a coastal country park. An amendment also stipulated that adequate community engagement is carried out, along with confirmation from Natural England of their support for the plans and the planning application submitted.

They also asked for an update to the committee in January.