A NEW waterside restaurant, café and accessible play area could be coming to Coate Water.

The borough council will be asked to approve these new additions to the popular park along with a proposal to clean the iconic diving board.

These improvements form a major part of a strategy put forward by Coun Dale Heenan to improve the borough's country parks over the next four years.

The council's Cabinet will discuss whether to develop the plan and approve the Coate Water improvements in a meeting on Wednesday.

The plan aims to use money from Section 106 developer contributions, grants and other funding to turn Swindon’s country parks into viable and sustainable assets which will improve our health and wellbeing as well as the town’s overall recreational facilities.

The Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve a four-week consultation which would be held next spring and allow townsfolk to identify improvements they would like to see in the parks as well as provide feedback on potential options.

The focus will be on Lydiard Park and Coate Water as the two largest and most visited country parks in Swindon, but all other country parks like Stanton, Mouldon Hill, Shaw Forest and Barbury Castle will be included, too.

Councillor Dale Heenan is the cabinet member responsible for the borough's parks. He said: “Swindon's country parks are critical to the health and wellbeing of local residents and families.

“We have championed our parks for a long time, but when I took on responsibility for them in May as part of my Cabinet portfolio, I wanted to see a change in our approach. Visible improvements are already happening in our parks.

“Now, I want to see an ambitious four-year strategy which outlines how each of our country parks can be improved. A strategy which local residents will have an opportunity to provide ideas and feedback on.

“In addition, I am asking Cabinet to agree three priorities for Coate Water. Build a new accessible play area and sensory garden within six months, the cleaning of the diving board for the first time in decades, and to construct a new waterside restaurant and cafe to replace the existing kiosk.

“South Cerney has the very successful Boathouse restaurant and Bar, and the Gateway Cafe, overlooking the water. I walked my beagle at Westonbirt Arboretum, and you sit down at the cafe with great views of the fields and woods. St James Park in London also has its own lovely cafe.

“There are lots of examples, and you look at them and think why can't we do this at Coate Water? We can. If there is a will, there is a way. Our ambition is for Coate Water to become a destination for Swindon.”

Ward councillors Jenny Jefferies and Brian Mattock have pushed for investment in Coate Water for some time and helped secure Section 106 funding for the park.

Coun Jefferies said: “Coate Water is a wonderful park and deserves to see additional investment. We have seen over the last eight months how important our parks and open spaces are for people’s wellbeing and we need to look after them and ensure they continue to provide enjoyment for families in the years to come.

“I am really pleased this strategy for our country parks is being brought before the Cabinet and, if it is approved, I look forward to working with Coun Heenan and engaging with park users so we can give Coate Water the upgrade it deserves."