RESTORATION work to transform a rundown pavilion and boathouse as part of a £1.2million heritage project at a park has begun.

Workmen have been seen onsite at Thompson Park in Burnley and making the first steps to transform the boathouse into a cafe.

The cafe will be managed by the Burnley Leisure Trust and will be used for activities and groups run by the body.

There will be extra seating on the former terrace and new storage unites for the boats and kayaks.

As part of the council's commitment to make the borough a dementia friendly community, extra funding will pay for dementia-friendly features such as a disabled toilet, use of tonal contrast in surface finishes and making the café an uncluttered environment.

The work on the pavilion will restore its original architectural features as well as providing a community space and a kitchen for schools, such as exhibitions and meetings.

The park rangers will have their headquarters in there and it will have kitchen facilities for use by community groups and on event days.

In an effort to make the building more sustainable, it will be heated by a biomass boiler which will be fuelled by seasoned wood, produced by the Green Spaces Department with the help of volunteers.

Cllr Margaret Lishman, chairwoman of the Burnley Dementia Action Alliance, said the new work will benefit the whole community of Burnley.

She said: "The level walking surfaces and easy to navigate pathways, with the variety sensory experiences to enjoy, will make the park a great place for people living with dementia.

"When the council consulted residents and carers at the nearby Bank Hall care home, we were told that extra disabled facilities would be a big help, so I am delighted that the council is able to make the extra funding available."

The work on the pavilion and boathouse will be carried out by Rosslee Construction, based in Accrington, and is set to be complete by the end of April.

The restoration work will allow people to stay in the park for longer, enjoy the scenery and walk near the boating lake and play area.

Cllr John Harbour, executive member for housing and environment, said: "It's great to see the restoration of Thompson Park take shape.

"The boathouse and boating lake hold some great memories for generations of residents.

"I'm sure they'll be pleased to see it being developed for generations to come."