THE village of Merton is set to have a new playground built after reaching a fundraising milestone of £36,000.

Merton Parish Council will provide an updated play area for the village after receiving grants from various benefactors.

The council was given £18,000 from Grantscape’s Coastal Recycling Community Fund and received £10,000 of Big Lottery Funding. The council’s play equipment committee also raised £8,000 by hosting various events.

With the money raised the council will begin phase one of its playground project by installing equipment for pre-school aged children on a site next to Clinton Hall, Merton.

Cllr Tim Horner, chair of Merton Parish Council and chair of the play equipment committee, said: ‘The equipment in the current playground is falling apart, so the council formed the play equipment committee about 3 years ago.

‘So far the committee has raised £8,000 through various fundraising events and we hope to make even more from our Auction of Promises which ends on Friday.

‘The original playground was built around 15 years ago — the same time Clinton Hall was built. Since then the responsibility of the playground’s maintenance was given to Torridge District council. However, over time the equipment has been worn down and some of it deemed unsafe to use.

‘We have negotiated with Clinton Hall Committee and have been given permission to build a new playground on a different site within their grounds.

‘The money raised will allow us to to start phase one of the project, which will be the installation of equipment for pre-school aged children.’

Cllr Horner said that the whole project would include play equipment for children all ages and include slides, swings as well as picnic benches.

He said the estimated cost to complete the new playground was £100,000 and that the council would continue working towards raising the remaining funds.

‘Kids need to be outdoors playing and socialising,’ said Cllr Horner.

‘It is so important that we provide children with a safe place to play. The new playground will not only benefit the children but will also benefit parents and grandparents who can socialise with other adults in the playground while knowing their children are playing on safe and up-to-date equipment.’

Phase one of the project will include the installation of a portal swing with cradle seats for toddlers, a circuit complete with small climbing wall and slide, as well as a mini carousel. Phase two, which will not begin until additional funding is raised, will include equipment designed for slightly older children including a large embankment slide and bird’s nest swing.

Phase one of the council’s playground project is due to start in May.