AN accessible swing, additional seating and a boules pitch are some of the suggestions from residents that have been incorporated into the revised improvement plans for Staddlestones Riverside Park in Midsomer Norton, following a public consultation.

The proposed park improvements are part of the Somer Valley Rediscovered project, which aims to improve local health and well-being by promoting the links between residents and green space and by increasing biodiversity in the area.

Somer Valley Rediscovered highlighted that residents remember the park being named ‘Riverside’. To be inclusive of them, this has been incorporated into the name. It now merges both housing developments and is known as ‘Staddlestones Riverside Park’.

The consultation asked the local community to comment on the development and longer-term management of the park. More than 300 comments were received, including 86 survey responses and feedback from 100 residents who attended an event in the park.

Respondents ranked the most important elements of the plan as footpath improvements, additional seating and the planting of trees and meadows. As a result, the updated plan now includes new and improved pathways, the addition of a dry circuit route around the park, extra benches and seats, more trees and the creation of meadow areas in the northern field to improve biodiversity.

Councillor Sarah Warren, cabinet member for Climate Emergency and Sustainable Travel, said: “We had a fantastic response to this consultation. The comments have been considered and incorporated into the revised plan, which you can find on our website. The proposed improvements will help to improve accessibility for visitors and make it easier for the local community to engage with nature.”

Plans to remove the park entrances completely have been discarded following feedback. Instead, they will be replaced with a lockable bollard at the north entrance off Cautletts Close and a chicane with removable panels at the south entrance. This will improve accessibility for pram, wheelchair and mobility scooter users and slow ‘escaping’ children and dogs.

The revised plans also include replacing the football pitch with two smaller goals for a more casual kickabout, which will increase the amount of open grassland, and the addition of a boules pitch.

The scope of the funding meant that the play area and equipment were not included in the improvement plans. However, the council’s Parks Service will replace the existing swings with an accessible swing.

You can view the final master plan and further details of the improvement plans on the Somer Valley Rediscovered website.