A PLAN is to be drawn up to improve one of Hartlepool's oldest parks.

Burn Valley Gardens opened in 1898 and most of the original pathways are still there, but several of its features, such as the bandstand, bridges and ornamental gates have gone.

The park has received reduced funding and maintenance during recent decades, resulting in poor pathways, limited floral displays and only basic facilities being available.

There have also been arson and vandal attacks, including the destruction of the former coach house, which is to be rebuilt.

During the past few months, efforts have been made to tidy up the park, and last month it was agreed that students in the final year of Newcastle University's planning course would assist in the preparation of development plans for the park.

Hartlepool Borough Council will meet on Friday to discuss progress on the park's development.

A report prepared for the meeting said: "There is strong local desire to see improvements in the park and it is recognised there is a need to improve Burn Valley Gardens to be a more attractive community resource."

Now, through the work of the students and a grant of £3,500 from Doorstep Greens, a Countryside Agency initiative funded supported by the New Opportunities Fund, a plan will be prepared for the site.

The plan will then be used as the basis of further grant applications.