PLANS have been approved to give the green light to major improvements to the Manor Gardens play park in Dawlish.

Final details are still to be ‘tweeked’ by the approved contractors but the funding has been agreed by Dawlish town councillors.

The town council agreed unanimously to plough £200,000 into the flagship project while Teignbridge District Council is to contribute £143,000.

The park has been due for an upgrade for many years and now seems to be coming to ‘fruition’.

Currently the play park is on land owned by Teignbridge Council.

Dawlish Town Council has agreed to take over responsibility for the ongoing maintenance.

Cllr Linda Petherick, chairman of the town council working party looking into the play area, said: ‘I am absolutely over the moon.

‘It will be amazing and when people see it, they will experience a real wow factor about it.’

Before the brief was sent to potential contractors, a consultation was sent out to all local schools, nurseries and toddler groups.

Cllr Petherick added: ‘This play park represents exactly what these youngsters have asked for.

‘There were 700 responses which is the best response to a survey I have known.

‘The children themselves said what they wanted and what they would use.’

She said it was a ‘big step’ towards seeing the project come to fruition.

The new design, which will extend the play park slightly, has been created in consultation with Oakwood College in Dawlish, a specialist college for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

The aim is to create a ‘fully accessible’ area designed for use by both disabled and able-bodied children and young people together.

The upgrade will be based on a Dawlish theme of black swans, the railway and coast.

Final exact costings will be going back to Dawlish Town Council in July for approval.

In addition, there are plans for a ‘Children’s Trail’ of signage along the Lawn and the Knowle to direct families to the play park.

The approval for the Dawlish upgrade comes six months after Teignbridge Council agreed to fund a £280,000 refurbishment of the Teignmouth seafront play park which is 16 years old.

A previous plan for Dawlish from more than five years ago to establish a new play park on the Lawn between the bowling club and the bandstand was shelved following opposition.