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A DATE has finally been set for the opening of a new £500,000 play park at Southampton Common.

The “exciting” multi-activity area is set to open on October 22, with the help of Saints legend Francis Benali.

The announcement comes after two months of delays for the still-to-be completed facility, which is being funded by Southampton City Council.

It was meant to open at the end of August, in time for the end of the school summer holidays.

But the project suffered long delays due to heavy rain, which caused groundwork issues for building contractors, Playforce.

Cabinet member for environment and transport, councillor Jacqui Rayment said: “Because of the poor weather over the summer, the site became water logged and we couldn’t lay the concrete down.

“There was even one week when we couldn’t do any work at all.

“We needed to make sure that the site was safe for staff and that they could work properly so the park was safe once it was finished.

“We did want it open in time for the end of August but there was nothing we could do.”

Work is now well underway on the new facility, which is being built on the site of the Common’s former paddling pool area.

Once completed, the park will include a number of water play features, a seven-and-a-half metre multi-use climbing area as well as slides and swings.

It will also have a kiosk, which will include toilets and a refreshments stand.

However, the main attraction will be the ‘tree nest’ play area.

The bespoke piece, designed like the rest of the park by award winning landscape architect Davies White, will include three connected nest areas.

Each area will be a different height, with the biggest reaching three metres and the smallest a metre high.

The piece will also contain animal sculptures, made by Southampton children during a special event at the Common last month.

Speaking about the facility, which cost around £500,000 to design and build, councillor Rayment said: “I’m really excited about it.

“To invest in our children’s parks knowing for generations that young people will be able to come and play here is a really positive thing for Southampton.”

Talking about the longevity of the park’s equipment, the majority of which is made largely out of New Forest wood and is designed to last for around 25 years, she added: “I just hope young people and their parents will respect it.

“I hope people will look after it and cherish it for the future.”

Around 360 tonnes of sand will be used at the play park, which will have a capacity of 700 children.