In a statement released on 30 August, Swindon Council has announced a decision on the future of Lydiard Park will not now be made until early next year after a community group triggered a six-month moratorium.
Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed in February to invite formal bids to run the park with the aim of reducing the Council’s annual subsidy and ongoing maintenance for the popular attraction. Last year the park cost the Council £460,589, up slightly from the previous year (£458,000).
The Council received five bids to run the park by the deadline of 8 July and it was anticipated that councillors would either be presented with a preferred bidder or be asked to carry out due diligence on a range of bidders at the next Cabinet meeting on 7 September.
However, Love Lydiard Trust Ltd has activated a full six-month moratorium period due to Lydiard being designated as an Asset of Community Value.
In early July the Lydiard Heritage Trust declared that it had submitted its plan for managing the park in the interests of the community and did not intend to trigger the moratorium.
Community organisations now have until Thursday 22 December to finalise their proposals as the six-month period is backdated to coincide with the start of the interim moratorium period, which was triggered on 22 June after being authorised by the Council’s Cabinet.
Exploring commercial opportunities for Lydiard Park formed part of the Council’s Leisure and Culture Commissioning Change Programme, which resulted in the successful leasing of the borough’s leisure and golf facilities. This secured a sustainable future for these important facilities, which are no longer reliant on subsidies from the Council.
The Council will now announce the outcome of the bidding process in the new year.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Lydiard, said: “The moratorium period has been introduced by the Government to give community groups enough time to put together their formal bids, which we welcome as we want proposals that are robust and can demonstrate they will achieve a sustainable future for Lydiard.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the organisations who have already submitted formal bids for their patience while we go through the moratorium process. We will make an announcement on any preferred bidder as soon as we are in a position to do so.”
Read about the community based bidders: