There's great news for youngsters and parents as a long-awaited play area is finally open.

The exciting new playpark behind the swimming pool at The Marsh in Weymouth was officially opened to the public yesterday.

It was originally hoped to be open in time for the summer holidays, however construction work was halted at the end of June for several weeks following the discovery of contaminated substances in the soil.

The discovery meant the ground level had to be raised and a membrane had to be laid across the entire footprint of the new play area. Due to rising costs, it also meant the size of the playpark had to be reduced.

The new playpark is part of the £185,000 Marsh Masterplan, which also includes brand new seating, the removal of the derelict running track, installation of a drop kerb, a basketball area and fencing.

At the opening of the facility, Cllr Mike Byatt, chairman of The Friends of the Marsh, said: "It's been a long grind but it's been well worth it.

"It speaks for itself, it's a great play area and many kids and families are going to get enjoyment out of it.

"The biggest message from the kids was that it needed to be disabled friendly - it's a reflection of what the children want."

The Friends of the Marsh worked with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council on the plans for the play area, with input from the local community.

It is suitable for children aged between 3 to 12 years and includes a climbing hut, a seesaw, a trampoline, a combination swing, as well as many pieces of equipment suitable for children with disabilities.

Cllr Kate Wheller, borough council spokesman for community facilities, said: "It was a huge shame that we were held up in the summer. It was due to circumstances beyond our control but it was vital we made the area safe. Despite that, we've got a terrific facility.

"It's really important that we are encouraging children to much more inclusive."

Cllr Wheller said there are plans for further improvements at The Marsh, including a new skate track for older children.