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A long awaited meeting between Swindon councillors and officers and the trustees of Lower Shaw Farm in mid-October was described as inconclusive in its outcome and the participants agreed to continue discussions about its future after a site meeting.
A year ago users and supporters of the farm in West Swindon were horrified to learn from The Link and other media outlets that the council wanted to force the trustees out so that the site could be ‘re-sophisticated’ for executive homes.
The farm has been developing as an education, cultural and community centre run on environmentally friendly lines for nearly thirty years. Friends and supporters protested loudly that the council – in these times of raised interest in environmental and community development issues – seemed to be going in the opposite direction to the majority of the population.
A compromise was reached to consider building high quality sustainable homes on parts of the site to compliment the facilities at the farm, but there has been little discussion in the last 10 months.
Farm trustee Matt Holland said, “I’m afraid it was inconclusive as far as a future plan is concerned. Everybody is being very cooperative, we continue to discuss things in a good spirit, but there’s not a lot more to be said. We agreed to meet again at the farm and we’ll be making councillors and officers very welcome.”
Swindon Council leader Roderick Bluh said, “we reviewed the situation and need to look at the proposals put forward by the trustees more closely. I hope the meeting can take place before the end of October and we can move the project forward.”
Where’s your Swindon favourite place?
Swindon is among five local authorities in the West of England to launch the Pride of Place online poll at www.ukprideofplace.com
The Oasis, the Link Centre, Lydiard Park and STEAM, Museum of the Great Western Railway and other Swindon places are featured on the site. The poll is part of the Government’s Connect to your Council campaign and runs until 30 November when the results will be released.
As the site has been set up by the Government to promote local councils, and there are only 10 places per local authority, Swindon Council has chosen its own places for people to vote on.
But do you have a place you would like to nominate? The council are willing to receive e-mail nominations (although they won't appear on the site) and will announce a local result at the end of November.
Send you nominations to: firstname.lastname@example.org and a brief description why it should be included.
Swindon Council leader Rod Bluh, said, "this is a great way to get people thinking and talking about their favourite place in the borough. We have a wealth of attractions, ranging from glorious countryside to hugely popular shopping centres. I look forward to hearing people's response, including recommendations of different places not in the poll."
Swindon Link has nominated the farm with the following description:
Lower Shaw Farm provides magical and educational experiences for all. Now surrounded by housing, the old farm is a haven of good and its community spirit is palpable. It has something special that shines very brightly, a unique quality that would be almost impossible to recreate elsewhere.
If you want to support the farm, mail the council now – and pass the idea on.
Pictured above, Lower Shaw Farm trustees Andrea Hirsch and Matt Holland.
If you're on Facebook, search for Lower Shaw Farm and become a friend. Be a friend of SwindonLink as well at our page (being organised soon).
• A favourite place competition run by the Swindon Civic Trust in 2004 awarded first prize to Coate Water Country Park.