A £1 MILLION bid to transform and improve a popular open space in Weymouth is ready to be submitted.

Lottery funding is being sought to ‘restore the heritage’ of Radipole Park and Gardens which is in “decline” and in urgent need of a makeover.

The area is owned and maintained by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council but a lot of work is also done on a voluntary basis by the Friends of Radipole Gardens.

The Friends have a ‘wish list’ of improvements and this has led to the council working with the group to chase funding.

The need to improve the area was brought to the fore after flooding in 2012 and 2014 which saw the park submerged in water for weeks, leading to paths deteriorating, damage to trees and pathways, and the loss of a football pitch.

Enquiries were first made with the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2015 and following extensive consultation with the community a bid for money from its ‘Parks for People’ fund is now ready to go.

Borough councillors will need to approve the submission of a stage 1 bid at a management committee meeting next Tuesday and allocate £30,000 for match funding.

The proposals for improving the site include:

  • Upgrade and incorporate a water feature into the children’s play area
  • Upgrade existing path networks
  • Upgrade existing car park surfacing
  • Upgrade existing surfacing and fencing of the tennis, MUGA and basketball courts
  • Introduction of a heritage café and toilet facilities
  • New drainage scheme to alleviate flooding of the playing field, including the introduction of a bog garden, pond and wildlife area
  • Tree planting
  • Additional planting within the gardens
  • Installation of new interpretation signs and park furniture

Greenspace and bereavement services manager Tara Williams says in a report: “The heritage value of Radipole Park and Gardens is considered to be of significance both physically and socially.

“The park has a story to tell and the people who have visited and enjoyed the park over the decades have many fond memories and recollections of how and why the park is important to them.

“This project will restore the physical fabric of the park and capture and record these memories to create a new chapter in the history of Radipole Park and Gardens for future generations.”

Councillors will be told the bid for a £1 million grant will be submitted this month and a decision by the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the first phase bid by funding the development stage of the project will be made in December.

If councillors don’t approve match funding there is a “high risk that the park and gardens will fall into disrepair and its long term heritage jeopardised”, it is warned.