A SCHEME investing more than £900,000 into sprucing up a large area of green space in the centre of Worcester has been given the go-ahead by city council leaders.

Members of Worcester City Council’s cabinet discussed the Diglis Public Realm Project at a meeting on Tuesday, April 15, where they heard it would involve improving the fencing around the playing fields as well as paths and the children’s playground in the area, which had to be removed last year after becoming extremely run-down.

Cllr Matthew Lamb called it “a very exciting project”.

“It’s going to further enhance the green space of the city of which we are very proud,” he said.

“I think it will compliment our bid to be City of Culture 2021.”

He told the cabinet extensive consultation had been carried out in connection with the plans – which also involve reducing the amount of football pitches in the area from three to two, with the third to be converted to a multi-play space where a range of games and activities can be held.

“We want to enhance and improve the riverside area,” he said.

“The river is a great asset and we often don’t make the most of this.”

Cllr Lamb added the adjacent Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve would be left as it is but outdoor gym equipment would be installed at the park.

“The one thing that still needs to be determined is parking,” he said.

“We like to encourage people to walk and cycle but we recognise that as this area is development it will become more of a focal point for visitors.”

The scheme will be funded by cash from five separate Section 106 agreements from developments around the city which council members discovered was available after the former Conservative administration was ousted last year.

Cllr Lynn Denham said she was delighted progress was being made on the project.

“I recognise that in my ward we have constant building work and road works without any community work – that’s what these funds are meant for,” she said.

“We know some of these funds go back to 2004 and in fact they would have been lost if they had not been used.

“I’m appalled that the previous administration allowed the playground to deteriorate to the point where it had to be removed last year when we now know there was so much in the pot.”

The scheme also involves setting up a toilet at the site for use by the Worcester and District Model Engineers, who run model trains from the site once a month in the summer months.

The work is expected to begin later this year.