A POPULAR Poole Park is getting a £360,000 restoration including a new performance space, a restored fountain, and two new petanque pitches.

Parkstone Park, at the heart of Ashley Cross, will be closed for 15 weeks while the works are carried out.

The 3.14 acre Victorian Park, which was first opened in 1890, is getting more welcoming entrances, resurfaced footpaths, extra seating, a new notice board, a ‘play path’ for children and a drinking fountain as part of a major facelift A significant new addition will be an informal performance space with seating around, which could be used for a Christmas tree and carol singing, or as an outdoor exhibition area for artists.

The genteel sport of petanque, a form of boules, will also be introduced, with two new pitches for both organised and informal use.

At the heart of the park the existing fountain will be replaced, but following consultation with residents, the original plan for a contemporary design was abandoned and the council is instead installing an original Victorian version.

The cast iron fountain, which features otters and fish figures, is currently being restored by specialists in Wolverhampton, ready to go into a larger fountain surround as the park’s centrepiece.

Similarly plans to reinstate the park’s original style railings were also dropped when residents urged the council to keep the park’s open appearance.

Cllr Neil Sorton, cabinet portfolio holder for leisure, Borough of Poole, said: “We are delighted to see these plans coming to life, particularly as local residents have had a huge amount of input.

“We would like to thank those people for their comments and ideas which helped to influence the design process.

“We hope they and others across the borough, of all ages, will enjoy the improved area which will be open in time for summer.”

Work started on January 10 and should be completed by Easter.Funding for the project was committed in 2007/20008 and comes from developers' contributions.