PLANS are underway to boost the visitor, heritage and cultural offer of a Cumbria town.

Westmorland and Furness Council is working with the town council, the Upper Eden History Society, local business owners and the cricket club on the Kirkby Stephen Town Centre Improvement Scheme, which was awarded £285,000 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Kirkby Stephen scheme is made up of four projects including a new play park, improved wayfinding and interpretation, redesign of Silver Street Garden and external refurbishment at the visitor centre.

Kirkby Stephen and Tebay councillors Phil Dew and John Murray have been supporting the project.

Cllr Murray said: "These projects together foster a sense of local pride and belonging, as well as improving footfall and drawing people into the town centre. I can't wait to see these projects become reality and benefit the town, residents, businesses and visitors."

Cllr Dew said: "By improving Kirkby Stephen high street and creating a new play park, we will provide valuable new facilities for our community. It is wonderful to see so many local groups getting involved and so many people taking part in the play park consultation."

A planning application has been submitted for this work this week, which includes plans to lower the boundary wall to improve visibility into the park and encourage use, extend the park area, introduce sitting areas and carry out hard and soft landscaping.

The new play park on land owned by the cricket club near the river will be a vibrant new feature for the town, appealing specifically to families. 

Consultation has taken place with the community about what they would like to see in the play park, which is now being assessed and a tender will soon go out for the work to be carried out.

Improvements to the outside of the town's visitor centre will include replacing the external rendering of the building and installing new windows, helping to protect this important building.

The town council has provided funding for an architect to undertake work to support a planning consent application as the building is in a conservation area.

Westmorland and Furness Council is working with partners from the Coast to Coast Path, which was recently awarded Nation Trail status. 

The Countryside Access Team will install better signage from the C2C into Kirkby Stephen, making sure walkers are aware of the facilities available in town.

Twenty-two projects are sharing £8.1 million from the UKSPF and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF), allocated by Westmorland and Furness Council, for schemes aimed at improving community and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.