Plans to transform an area of open land into a community space - possibly including a care farm and allotments - are gaining momentum.

Weymouth Town Council has agreed to commit almost £25,000 to employ a regeneration project officer for the Tumbledown Farm project.

The farm, approximately 25 acres of land between Radipole Lane and the A354 near Southill, was described as ‘an important green space in the heart of an urbanised area’ in a report put before the council on Wednesday.

The area, made up of natural grassland, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) nature reserve, a small wooded area, open fields and grazing areas, was noted for its importance to wildlife, as well as locals, and suggestions for future use also include a community food growing area, training centre and for horticulture training, woodland management training.

At a full council meeting on Wednesday, Cllr Jon Orrell told councillors a lot of people are living in poverty in Weymouth and need to use food banks. He said the project would provide a way for the community to grow food, learn new skills and how to cook healthy meals, with any surplus going to the local food bank.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “This is council-owned land – there’s nothing holding us back.”

Cllr Peter Barrow shared his enthusiasm, saying: "This is a fantastic project, I really back this."

Councillors approved a request from the Tumbledown Farm Working Group to secure £24,800 to fund a part time regeneration project development officer for a period of one year.

The funding won't come from the council coffers but from its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) fund – a charge on developments.

The regeneration project officer's role will involve liaising with the Tumbledown Farm working group to deliver the community space, working with the results of the community consultation. In December, residents were asked for their ideas on what the space should be, with suggestions including a community petting farm, environmental education centre, allotments., horticultural therapy centre, men's shed and community food growing area.

The new officer will also produce a viability/ feasibility study, produce a sustainable business plan for the space and co-ordinate working processes for Tumbledown Farm that allows for partner organisations, volunteers and visitors to experience the greenspace safely and effectively.