A VILLAGE children’s play area is expected to be transformed this year after the official go-ahead was given for an upgrade.

Planning permission has been granted by Dartmoor National Park Authority planners for an upgrade to widen use and for a refurbishment of the toddler play area of Yelverton community park.

Thanks to community fundraising efforts which have collected more than £50,000, the ageing play equipment will be replaced and upgraded, with the bark floor surface being replaced by a safer soft-fall green rubber one.

The new equipment proposed includes a seesaw and swing which are designed for users with limited accessibility. The wooden fence around the area will also be replaced.

The play area already includes a balance trail, ‘springers’, play tower, basket ball hoops and a roundabout. New to the play area will be an adapted swing and adapted seesaw in a separate area for children with limited accessibility to provide an accessible play space. The project is part of Yelverton community park, Leg O’Mutton, which includes a meeting area for the community and open space.

Ric Cheadle welcomed the go-ahead for the work as chairman of Yelverton Community Project, a charity providing services to villagers which includes a household aid organisation called Yelver Care.

Mr Cheadle, also a West Devon borough councillor for Buckland Monachorum, said tenders would now go out for the work to start: ‘This is geat news for Yelverton as the only play area in the village. It exists and is run only because of volunteers from the village who organise its maintenance and improvement. They raise money to keep it going and as a result it’s a popular well-used community asset. But it’s been going for about 25 years and is wearing out. So we had a big push to raise funds to ensure it’s refurbished, up to date and safer with a new rubber floor.’

The funds were raised through the village lottery and donations: ‘This is an ambitious plan which also widens access to children with mobility issues. We even have children from Plymouth using the multi-use games area which is ideal for their wheelchairs.’

Mark Jones and his wife Marsha, professional child minders of ‘Kernow Kids’, said: ‘This is one of the best play parks for the younger children in the area. We have five children today and it needs to be extra safe when you have so many to keep an eye on. The key features are the gate to the separate toddlers’ area and fence. We’re very pleased to see they’ll have an area for children with mobility issues.’

Planning approval supports a likely benefit to the economic, social, and environmental conditions of the area. Public open space and sports facilities play an important role in making Dartmoor’s communities healthy, sociable and desirable places to live.