TWO playgrounds in flagship East Lancashire green space are to be transformed with £350,000 from the developers of a major new housing estate.

The cash will be spent at Blackburn's Witton Country Park over the winter.

The proposals include a brand new large activity play area on the current site of 'The Wits' and a full revamp of the younger children’s playground, both scheduled to be completed by the spring.

Early designs for the scheme are being worked up with initial concepts including a large climbing frame, brand new swings, and roundabouts.

News of the play area revamps follows Go Ape submitting a planning application for a family high-rope facility in Witton Park last month.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is to use developers' contributions, known as Section 106 funding, from new housing developments in Brokenstone Road for the revamped play areas.

Cllr Quesir Mahmood, the authority's growth boss, said: “What a fantastic project this could be for Witton Park – one that I know our families in the borough, and new families moving here, will be excited about.

“The £350,000 Section 106 funding from the new homes in Brokenstone Road has been committed to improving green spaces in the area and could help completely transform the current Wits playground and the area for younger children.

“Sadly, we’ve seen our playgrounds decline in recent years but we know just how important facilities like these are for our communities.

“These brand new playgrounds will help attract visitors too – helping to support local businesses.”

His Conservative group counterpart Cllr Paul Marrow said: "While we welcome the doing up of The Wits and the smaller younger children's playground at Witton Park there is some concern that this money is not being used more locally to pay for a play area for the families on the new housing estate itself."

Barratt Homes and Taylor Wimpey have applied for a variation of the S106 Agreement for their 450 home housing estates off Brokenstone Road.

It includes paying £350,000 earmarked for green infrastructure in the West Blackburn area in one lump sum rather than in phases – paving the way for the playground transformation.

Cllr Mahmood said: “We know just how popular Witton Park is and these upgraded playgrounds really would be a welcome addition.

“The new playground at Blacksnape Playing Fields in Darwen has been funded in exactly the same way using Section 106 monies from a nearby new homes development.

“A similar scheme at Corporation Park has proven to be very popular."