A CHILDREN’S play park gutted by a fire earlier this year is set for a summer holiday reopening to the delight of families in Parkstone.

New play equipment will be installed at Alexandra Park in the coming weeks after arsonists set fire to the play area in the early hours of Sunday, January 23, causing irreparable damage to facilities.

The incident, which caused widespread anger among residents, caused the popular play park to close and has remained so in the months since.

Officers carried out a number of enquiries into the incident and no arrests have been made.

Bournemouth Echo: Aftermath of fire at Alexandra Park play area in January 2022 in ParkstoneAftermath of fire at Alexandra Park play area in January 2022 in Parkstone

More than four months later and BCP Council has said the park will finally reopen.

Councillor Mark Anderson, portfolio holder for environment and place, said: “The passion and high regard that local people have for Alexandra Park and its gardens is great to see and we are expecting the new play equipment to replace the damaged equipment to be delivered in the next few weeks.

“We hope to reopen the park before the start of the summer holidays.

“Our parks team is also working hard in the gardens as we continue to make improvements under our Cleaner, Greener, Safer campaign.”

The news was well received by residents, one of whom said: “I'm really pleased that BCP Council are doing a great job with this park.”

Bournemouth Echo: Alexandra Park play area to be refurbished after fire. Picture: BCP CouncilAlexandra Park play area to be refurbished after fire. Picture: BCP Council

Another resident, meanwhile, questioned whether the new equipment would be suitable for disabled children. In response, a council spokesperson said: “We're currently intending to replace the vandalised equipment on a like-for-like basis.

“We always try and make sure there is a range of play equipment for all ages and abilities and to ensure the whole play space is as inclusive as possible.”

In the immediate aftermath of the January arson incident, police increased their presence in the area with “reassurance patrols” by Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) officers.

Alexandra Park was one of the places in the area to receive neighbourhood policing officers specifically tasked to patrol it as part of an effort named Operation Nova in last year due to high volumes of anti-social behaviour.

The council-owned play park had previously received a refurbishment in late 2019.