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Playtime is extended for kiddies; New paddling pool plan.

Byline: By Dave Black

YOUNGSTERS in a market town could soon be enjoying a splashing time thanks to a pounds 310,000 project to transform a run down children's paddling pool.

A partnership bid has been launched to create a state-of-the-art, inter-active water play facility on the site of the paddling pool in Carlisle Park, Morpeth.

Morpeth Town Council and the Greater Morpeth Development Trust have joined forces on the scheme in a bid to improve the attractiveness of the park to young children and their parents during the summer months.

A similar play feature - incorporating water jets and fountains - proved hugely popular after being installed in Blyth's Ridley Park in 2005.

The partners behind the Morpeth project have already secured pounds 75,000 in funding from Castle Morpeth Council's Extra Mile grants scheme, and are also seeking cash from the Big Lottery's Playful Ideas programme and other sources.

It is part of the wider Castles, Woods and Water scheme which seeks to regenerate and upgrade a sixmile corridor along the River Wansbeck in the Morpeth area. The water feature will retain a paddling pool element for toddlers but will aim to provide an exciting new facility for children of all ages. The current pool is popular during the summer months but is old, tired and in need of repair work to allow it to comply with health and safety regulations.

The Town Council and GMDT are planning an extensive public consultation exercise on the scheme, with local children being given the chance to influence the design and types of equipment used.

Yesterday GMDT chairman, Doug Phillips, said: "The pounds 75,000 funding is the first step in an exciting scheme and GMDT are committed to making it happen."

Town Council chairman Mark Horton said: "The support is very good news for us. The water park would be more inter-active and interesting for the children."

GMDT chief executive, David Lodge, added: "I had the pleasure of delivering a similar facility to this as part of the re-development of Ridley Park in Blyth.

"It proved a fantastic success and extremely popular with families. We will be keeping everyone up to date with the scheme proposals and planned development timescales on our website www.gmdt.net."

CAPTION(S):

PLANS: Doug Phillips, chair of Greater Morpeth Development Trust (right) and Mark Horton, chair of Morpeth Town Council at the site of the new pool. Picture: www.icNewcastle.co.uk/buyaphoto ref: 01054317; POOL: The paddling pool in Carlisle Park.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 11, 2008
Words:416
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