Mega play trail idea

EXMOUTH's regeneration plans are alive and kicking and could now include a new 'environmental' play area on the seafront.

EXMOUTH's regeneration plans are alive and kicking - and could now include a new 'environmental' play area on the seafront.An undisclosed sum of developer's cash paid to the district council will be used to develop a 'play trail' at The Maer, using a patch of grassland, which was formerly a pitch and putt golf course, writes David Beasley.The scheme, dubbed a 'Mega' play area, already has the backing of ward members, who will select an environmental artist to assist with the designs. These will be finalised when parents and school children meet the chosen artist during school holidays later this year.The cash comes from a 106 Agreement between a developer and East Devon District Council - developers contribute to improve community facilities to compensate for the impact of developments on residents.A district council spokesman said: "EDDC will work with an environmental artist and the community to create a play area that delivers the twin benefits of providing enjoyment for families whilst informing them about the botanical and wildlife interest of the reserve."He said the 10-acre nature reserve at The Maer would 'not be compromised' and would be complemented by it - the equipment would be designed to tell the story of the reserve's bio-diversity through play.EDDC's Education Ranger, James Chubb, who is part of the team working on the project, said: "This is a really exciting scheme, which will enhance the seafront and provide a means of involving children in educational play that helps them appreciate the flora and fauna of the area. "The design will be led by the creativity of the community."Littleham town and district councillor Mark Williamson said: "We are very excited. Instead of the usual swings, we wanted 'new age' play furniture, made entirely out of recycled materials."He said that, at a recent meeting of Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board, it was suggested the play equipment could take on the form of a nature trail that could be followed."We want it to be inter-generational, used by all ages, and could be the focal point in the area for families and holidaymakers.