PLANS to create a community splash park are one step closer after a £75,000 cash boost.
The money, awarded by landfill tax grants body Wren, will help transform facilities at The Leys Recreation Ground in Witney.
More than £150,000 has been raised for the venture, which is the largest community project attempted by Witney Town Council.
Chairman of the splash park working party, Harry Eaglestone, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured this amount from Wren.
“This is due to the hard work of our facilities manager, Claire Swan and the working party, who have worked tirelessly to bring this about.”
Aiming to provide a space for “imaginative and stimulating play”, the new community park will cater for all ages.
Proposals include a wet play area, adventure playground, sand pit and a family area, with hopes to later include a sensory garden. About £200,000 is needed for the ambitious redevelopment scheme.
Community campaign group Liven Up The Leys, which is working in partnership with the town council, has raised almost £9,000 for the project.
The council has also pledged £70,000 towards the initiative and a further £50,000 bid has been lodged with West Oxfordshire District Council’s community facilities grant fund.
Mr Eaglestone said: “We are nearly there with this money. I’m hopeful within weeks we will hear about whether we get any money from the district council.
“I have always wanted to get The Leys sorted.
“I hope the next generation remember this. There’s no question there’s a lot of people that use The Leys.”
Plans for the splash park come after Witney’s only outdoor pool was closed in February last year because of broken slabs around the pool.
The pool had to be shut five times in 2013 due to broken bottles found in the water.
Mr Eaglestone said the 45-year-old park facilities were “well past their sell-by date”.
He added: “It was not anywhere near the required standards for health and safety.”
It is hoped final plans for the splash park development will be unveiled in the autumn, with a view to starting redevelopment during the spring next year.
Ms Swan said: “It means a lot to people and it will be a legacy. It will have a lasting impact on the community.”
Joe Newby, grant manager at Wren, said: “The Liven Up the Leys project is a great example of a community coming together.”
To get involved, visit discovertheleys.org or call Claire Swan on 01993 777 822.
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