Concerned that their children will have nowhere safe to play, a group of parents from the Beacon area of Falmouth will need to gather local residents' support as they campaign for a refurbished park.

Members of the action group Sort Out Our Park (SOOP) met on Thursday at Falmouth Primary School, where they were joined by June Chappel of Penwerris Residents' Association, town mayor Grenville Chappel, and town councillor Anna Gillett along with Cornwall Council representatives, to discuss how to move forward with plans to improve Beacon Park.

The group was set up by local parents following a series of vandalism incidents which saw play equipment torn up and broken bottles and syringes left in the children's play park. The meeting on Monday was meant to be gauging what needed to be done and finding out what people would like to see in the area.

At the meeting, the group was told by Tania Horrocks, an engagement officer from Cornwall Housing, that the play park is owned by Cornwall Council but run by Cornwall Housing, and currently if equipment is judged to be unsafe it is taken away but not replaced as "there's no money."

But her colleague Frankie Addey said while the company did not have a budget to replace damaged equipment, it would honour a service level agreement to maintain any equipment that was installed.

However they pointed out that the best plan would be to set up an official steering group and to apply for funding for renovation work.

Ms Horrocks told them: "Our advice would be to set up a steering group... and set up a constitution for that steering group.

"You might be able to join up with the local tenants' or residents' association."

Mr Chappel, who runs The Beacon Partnership, encompassing four local tenants' associations, offered support to the group, saying: "We've got the bank account, the space and the constitution. so we could take you as a subsidiary group."

Ms Horrocks said: "You need to capture the hearts and minds of people - they are used to having a park there, but it needs discussion over new equipment or making the park bigger."

Ms Gillett asked what would happen with the equipment that is currently in the park, as she was worried the group might be blamed if it was taken before there was any replacement. She was told by Ms Horrocks that nothing would be removed unless an inspection found it to be unsafe, but the main issue is "the health and safety of the children.

Ideas suggested at the meeting included an area for older children and teenagers, enlarging the the play area, and creating a designated dog area.

But Mr Chappel pointed out that the group needed to find funds first, and said: "One of the first things the funders will say is 'prove there's a need.'

"I had that funding ten years ago to do the Beacon up. When I went to prove the need, the people of the Beacon - mainly the private side - said 'we don't want all the noise in our back gardens, clear off.'"

He told people that "before you get too excited" they should knock on doors and carry out a full consultation.

It was decided that the next steps would include designing and carrying out a survey to gauge local opinion, as well as holding a fun day at the park to find out what people would want from a play park. The group is also trying to get a notice board at the park, for community use and to keep people informed of what is being planned."

The group was also told that a realistic time frame for the work would be at least two years.