AN idea which came out of the foot and mouth epidemic almost five years ago has finally been realised thanks to the dedication of a community group.

This week a brand new £130,000 play area was opened in Ingleton following fundraising by the village's Regeneration Group.

Its opening was advanced by at least 12 months thanks to Dalesmoor Homes, who released £45,000 as part of a legal agreement attached to planning permission for a development in Croft Road.

The funding raised by the Regeneration Group is part of £400,000 in total which it has raised towards projects in the village over the past four years.

The creation of the play area included clearing the surrounding scrub, levelling the site, installing drainage, new fencing and installing disabled access.

There are approximately 15 pieces of equipment for toddlers to teens to enjoy, all with the comfort of CCTV to protect users as well as the playground itself.

The whole area has been covered in a special rubber surface.

"This is where a lot of the money has gone, but it is necessary to ensure a safe surface," said chairman of the Regeneration Group, Phil Walker. "The equipment is already in use and all is being enjoyed."

Mr Walker added his thanks to Dalesmoor Homes for realising their part of the bargain early.

The developer had agreed to release the money after the 30th home had been completed, but in fact handed it over in around half that time.

Another £57,000 was obtained from Living Spaces along with funding from the Hanson Trust as well as the county, district and parish councils.

Mr Walker said the playground had been inspected by the Royal Society for the Protection of Accidents (ROSPA) who stated it was the best play area they had seen for some time.

Local parent Katherine Simpson said the facility was "fantastic".

"The children love it," she added.

Although only a small settlement, Ingleton boasts a host of facilities for residents and visitors to enjoy thanks to a strong community bond.

Recently, an all-weather tennis court was opened and there is also a multi-use sports area and outdoor heated swimming pool.

The Regeneration Group, set up in the wake of foot and mouth to help the local community which had been affected by the outbreak, has been responsible for several projects.

These include a nature trail, footpath refurbishment and picnic tables in the park and finger-post signage in the village.

Officials opened the play area yesterday (Thursday) and handed it over to the parish council who will be responsible for its future maintenance.