A PLAN which has been three years in the making is set to take a major step forward.

The future of the Marsh is back on the agenda and will be discussed by a meeting of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s management committee next Tuesday.

It’s hoped that the plan will include youth facilities such as a skate park, football pitches and a play area. A community orchard has already been planted by Friends of the Marsh, and the plan also includes maintaining the swimming pool and makes room for a proposed new boxing clubhouse, for which Weymouth Amateur Boxing Club has been fundraising for.

But a report to go before the committee notes that there are a number of issues at the Marsh which need to be addressed – namely anti-social behaviour and drug misuse.

In 2015 the facility risked losing its sports provision as the borough council looked to save costs under the Open Spaces and Parks Review (OSPR). One option was to have the area revert to green space. But a public consultation revealed huge support for the Marsh, and highlighted the importance of having sports facilities in Weymouth.

Athletics clubs, including Weymouth St Paul’s Harriers, Cougars Football Club and Weymouth Amateur Boxing Club, committed to helping run the facility and secure its future.

Councillors will be told on Tuesday that the masterplan is the result of work over the last three years and includes the results of several consultations with the community and stakeholders over what facilities should be there. Officers have recommended that the committee approves the plan. If approved, an ‘implementation programme’ will be produced early next year and additional funding sought.

The report states: ”There is significant demand for a new (reinstated) play area. A skate park would provide activities for older children although the management of anti-social behaviour and noise needs to be considered.

“There are significant concerns about anti-social behaviour, particularly drug use and noise from vehicles in the car parks and on the paths in the evenings and at night.

“The Marsh is widely valued by residents as both an important area of open space and as a sporting facility, and any improvements would be welcome.”

It adds: “The development of the masterplan has highlighted the latent energy and enthusiasm of the local community to improve the Marsh. The council should, therefore, continue to work with key agencies to help promote and support community action.”