Labour councillor and shadow member for leisure & libraries Jim Robbins, pictured, says questions have been raised over the amount Swindon Borough Council subsidises Lydiard Park and House which has been used by the ruling cabinet to justify transferring Lydiard to outside management. He writes:
Concerns have been raised that staff linked to Lydiard Park and House’s budget are actually being used at the STEAM Museum, thus enhancing the size of the suggested subsidy for Lydiard.
The Conservative-run Council says this is necessary to cut an annual subsidy of £450,000 but groups associated with Lydiard Park have questioned whether this is the true amount.
Now a Conservative Cabinet Member has been quoted in the Swindon Advertiser as saying that even if the subsidy has been wrongly calculated, the Conservatives would transfer the park as they are not just looking to cut the subsidy.
I know a lot of people have concerns about exactly what is spent on Lydiard and I share that. It’s important we get to the bottom of it before we move forward with this process.
What I think is revealing about the Conservatives’ response to these concerns is that they are basically intent on transferring the park regardless of whether there is a subsidy on Lydiard or not. We already know that every suggested action a new private company could do to generate more income from the park could already be done by the Council, but the Conservatives have refused to do it.
The Conservatives have also refused to rule out a loss of accessibility to the park as a result of their proposal to transfer Lydiard, which is also something residents have raised strong concerns about. All this suggests that their plans to transfer Lydiard is much more to do with their ideology of transferring public assets to the private sector, than financial necessity.
I would urge all residents to get in touch with the Council to express their views about the Lydiard transfer.
Residents can make their views known on the transfer of Lydiard Park and House by emailing lydiardfuture@Swindon.gov.uk.