Lydiard Fields Action Group has submitted an application to the council to have Lydiard House and Park registered as an asset of community value.
The group, who originally formed to protect the fields surrounding the park from developers, continue to campaign to protect the house and country park as one of Swindon’s most prized assets.
The application to register Lydiard House, Park and the adjacent Greendown Plantation as a Community Asset has yet to receive a formal response from Swindon Borough Council.
Right, members of the action group outside Lydiard House in 2013
Listing local property and land as assets of community value under the Localism Act does not prevent such assets being sold. It does however mean that the community do have a right to bid for such assets to keep them in community ownership and time and support to do so.
Group chair Bev Cejer said: “These two areas are both owned by the council and in our view easily satisfy the requirements for registration. We hope that the council will agree. Although all three political parties have now pledged not to sell Lydiard Park, we had been thinking about making an application long before this arose.
“In Swindon, we are really lucky to have such a place as Lydiard, with its history stretching back over hundreds of years, its wildlife and its countryside ambience, from which the park derives much of its special feeling. But with the double pressures of council budget cuts and developers keen to build on the green fields for housing, none of this can be taken for granted.
"The recent agreement for outline planning permission on the last remaining field between Grange Park and Lydiard, which at the moment still links the Plantation to the Park, demonstrates its vulnerability. Whilst a registration won’t actually prevent a sale of the House, Park or Plantation should the council be minded to sell, we hope that at least it expresses in a concrete way, the appreciation felt by many residents and visitors alike for these areas. There is an eight week deadline for a decision, so we’re looking forward to hearing the result at the latest by mid May.“
Members of the LFAG group have turned their continued passion for the park and surrounding countryside to further projects following the loss of a four year battle to prevent planning permission from being granted to build on the field next to the plantation and park.
"This includes a new Bluebell project to encourage and support Greendown Copse’s English Bluebells and other wild flowers."
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland has been advising the group on how to apply for asset protection. He said: “I am really pleased that the Lydiard Fields Action Group has made this application.
“I think that it is a very useful way to emphasise the community’s strong support for vital local public amenities like Lydiard Park. Registering the park and plantation will serve as a ‘marker in the sand’ should there be any attempt in the future to sell the freehold of our beloved park and house.”