HOPES have been raised for the future of Weymouth Sandworld after the popular visitor attraction abruptly closed last month.

As reported, bosses arrived at Sandworld's Lodmoor Country Park site on the morning of September 28 to find the locks had been changed, with a solicitors' notice on the gate informing that the landlord had repossessed the building.

Sandworld has been a highlight of Weymouth's tourism offering for around a decade - but its future looked uncertain.

At the time of the closure, a spokesman for the attraction was unable to go into lengths about the commercially sensitive details, but told the Echo that the park is not in financial difficulty and that its fate was "in the hands of the landlord."

Dorset Echo: Visitors arrived to find the attraction closed - Sandworld took measures to refund those who bought ticketsVisitors arrived to find the attraction closed - Sandworld took measures to refund those who bought tickets

Now, in a positive turn of events, the future of the park appears to have been secured as Sandworld bosses say "amicable" negotiations are underway between them and their landlords as, subject to approval by the council, Sandworld has agreed to buy the remainder of the existing lease for the land it occupies.

And on Saturday the park announced it would be reopening until October 31 in order to host a spooktacular Halloween exhibition for the half-term.

Dorset Echo: Young visitors get into the 'spirit' of things at Sandworld's Halloween event - which is on all weekYoung visitors get into the 'spirit' of things at Sandworld's Halloween event - which is on all week

Sandworld spokesman David Hicks said: “We still have to complete the formalities, but it comes as a great relief to us to have hopefully secured the future of Sandworld after what has been a worrying time.

"We would like to thank everyone who has sent messages of support and offers of help, and thank our staff for their patience during the shutdown - it's great to be back open.”

Linked to Weymouth's famous beachside sand gallery, Sandworld attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Mark Anderson, the artist behind the popular attraction, is the grandson of Weymouth much-loved sand sculptor Fred Darrington, who took up the unique craft just after the First World War in the early 1920s. Mr Darrington passed away in 2002 at the age of 91, but Mark has continued following in his footsteps and co-founded Sandworld.

Dorset Echo: Work in progress: A Halloween-themed sand sculpture is being created by a local artistWork in progress: A Halloween-themed sand sculpture is being created by a local artist

To celebrate reopening in time for Halloween, a Halloween-themed sand sculpture is being created, and a local artist has been commissioned to carve some pumpkins to add to the seasonal decorations.

The attraction is also holding its traditional sand pumpkin carving competition, with visitors in Halloween-themed fancy dress gaining free entry.

For more information visit www.sandworld.co.uk