Up to £25,000 will be spent in the coming months to deliver a brand new play area near the possible site of a major housing development in Somerset.

Ilminster Sports Club has secured funding to deliver a new play area near the Archie Gooch Football Pavilion, located off Canal Way in the south west of the town.

The site lies a short distance from a planned development of 400 homes between Herne Hill Nature Reserve and The Meadows doctors’ surgery, which has been put forward by Persimmon Homes South West.

South Somerset District Council’s area west committee voted on Wednesday evening (June 15) to provide £12,500 towards the play equipment, on top of £500 provided by Ilminster Town Council and £12,000 from the sports club’s own funds.

The pavilion is the home of Ilminster Town Football Club, but it is also used by mother and baby groups, slimming groups and Age UK, as well as being hired out for private events.

The venue is named after entrepreneur and philanthropist Archie Gooch, founder of the opto-electronics firm Gooch and Housego, who passed away in the nearby village of Hatch Beauchamp in September 2005.

Nathan Turnbull, the council’s locality officer, said the play area would contribute towards ongoing efforts to make the pavilion a focus point for local families.

He said in his written report: “They envisage the pavilion becoming a social hub for the community. A play area will enable them to provide this by having a safe enjoyable play area for families to use while also having the use of their pavilion for refreshments and toilets.

“They are situated in a prime green space that is utilised by families for dog walking and recreational sports, and this could add to enticement for families to be more active and go outdoors.

“Ilminster Sports Club has various children’s groups that use the pavilion during the day and this will also provide another space for them to carry out activities to enhance their groups.”

Council leader Val Keitch said: “Having been involved right from day one with the development of the Archie Gooch Pavilion, and been aware of just how much that whole project means to the community, this is a further enhancement.

“All the volunteers work incredibly hard to raise money. They do various events for the town and they do engage an awful lot of families and children, so I have no hesitation at all about this.”