The Lydiard Park Heritage Trust, one of two community bids seeking to manage Lydiard Park and House, has released a statement regarding their plans to strengthen their bid with an advisory group.
In a statement released on 30 August, Swindon Council announced a decision on the future of Lydiard Park will not now be made until early next year after another 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.
The statement from the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust states: “Notwithstanding the council’s announcement delaying the Lydiard Park outsourcing decision until the New Year, the Trustees of The Lydiard Park Heritage Trust continue to cement and deepen their relationship with the community of Swindon.
“Chairman Mike Bowden said: “Although we are recognised as a community organisation by the Locality’s Act, we consciously decided not to trigger a six month moratorium. This is because, by the submission date set by Swindon Borough Council, our bid was fully developed. We are willing, ready and able to enter into detailed discussions with Swindon Borough Council at the earliest opportunity.
“Our bid document runs to more than 50 pages and is backed up by a business plan, financial projections and forecasts thatwould pass muster in any boardroom.
“But it would be very wrong to think that our bid for Lydiard House and Park is simply a matter of business and money. Anyone in the 700 strong audience at ‘The Friends’ public meeting earlier this year knows nothing could be further from the truth.
“Our trustees are part of the community and our bid has the overwhelming support of the community. Today we are delighted to announce yet another aspect of our community credentials – The Lydiard Park Heritage Trust Advisory Group.
“This continually developing group, will help inform the Trustees on a wide range of issues and ensure that, wherever practically possible, all users and stakeholders of the House and Park will have a voice. Managing an estate as important as Lydiard is no easy task and so it is vital that the people have a voice in the future of their Park.
“The Advisory Group has amongst its membership people who care about Swindon – its heritage, its culture and its environment. It also includes a representation of the parks dog walkers, its footballers and other regular users as well as representatives from the voluntary and charity sectors and the youth council.
“The trustees are delighted to have such a talented and interested group of local people involved with the bid and hopefully the future management of the House and Park.”
For more information about The Lydiard Park Heritage Trust, including links to social media and a full list of Advisory Group members, visit their website on www.lydiardtrust.org.uk