A staff-led bid has been submitted to manage Lydiard House and Park.
The community bid was submitted before the Swindon Borough Council imposed deadline on 8 July and has been put together by the staff management team.
There have been five organisations in total which have submitted bids. These are made up of two community-led proposals and one commercial bid to take over the running of the entire site and two bids interested in running just part of the site.
Swindon Borough Council agreed in February to invite formal bids to run the park with the aim of reducing the Council’s £458,000 annual subsidy and ongoing maintenance for the popular attraction.
The staff-led bid is made up of a team with a breadth of skills and knowledge built up over many years and has well-thought out plans to sustain and enhance the estate.
The creation of a charitable trust will also allow this team to manage this asset and to bid for, build and re-invest funds for the benefit of the estate and community.
A statement released by the team said: “We are passionate about Lydiard, and this is a fantastic opportunity to make Lydiard an even better destination for our visitors, re-investing and developing the offerings for a memorable day out.
“The team would also like to thank the many members of the community for volunteering their time and expertise to make all of this happen.”
The bid is supported by the Akers family, who were instrumental in making Lydiard a public asset after Councillor Francis Elliot Akers gifted Lydiard House for the benefit of the community in 1943.
His great-granddaughter Gina Akers said: “We’ve wanted to be sure that a community bid puts the people’s interests first and truly reflects my Great-Grandfathers intentions for Lydiard. We believe the Staff Lead Community Bid will be the best future for Lydiard.”
The group are putting community engagement at the forefront of its priorities and welcomes comments, views and support from the community, to contact please email: email@example.com
The other community bid has been revealed as The Lydiard Park Heritage Trust led by Mike Bowden, the chair of the Friends of Lydiard Park.
The bids will now be scored against a set of criteria. The council will interview bidders in the next few days before further clarifications relating to the bids are sought. It is hoped that either a preferred bidder will be presented to cabinet, or councillors will be asked to carry out due diligence on a range of bidders, at its meeting on 7 September.
Exploring commercial opportunities for Lydiard Park formed part of the council’s Leisure and Culture Commissioning Change Programme, which resulted in the leasing of the borough’s leisure and golf facilities, meaning they are no longer reliant on subsidies from the Council.
The Council will not be announcing the names of the organisations who have submitted bids to run the historic house and park on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Lydiard, said: “We were encouraged by the response we received from our initial soft market testing and so it is therefore pleasing that we have received a number of formal bids to run Lydiard House and Park.
“A thorough examination of these bids now needs to be carried out so cabinet can consider the proposal which will provide the best future for Lydiard House and Park.”