The Labour Group has welcomed the decision of Swindon Council not to transfer the running of Lydiard to a private sector company, with the Cabinet announcing the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust as its preferred bidder to run Lydiard Park and House.
The registered trust scored highest out of five bids received by the Council and, if the Council’s Cabinet endorse the trust as the preferred bidder at next week’s Cabinet meeting (16th March), further due diligence will take place before a Business Transfer Agreement and Lease is agreed over the next six months.
Last year the Conservative Group refused to rule out a private company running Lydiard for profit, after Lydiard & Freshbrook’s Labour Councillor, Matthew Courtliff, had called on the Council to rule out private sector involvement in the park at a Council Meeting.
Recently Lydiard Park has had car parking charges introduced to its visitors that, together with parking charges at Coate Water, has generated an income for the Council of £400K.
Labour’s Spokesperson for Lydiard & West Swindon Councillor, Jim Robbins, has welcomed the announcement that Lydiard will be run by a trust. He said:
"The Labour group are delighted that the campaign we supported to keep Lydiard in public control has been successful and are looking forward to working constructively with Lydiard Park Heritage Trust to make sure Lydiard Park and House remains a jewel in the crown for Swindon.
We were really pleased that two community groups came forward and put in such high-quality bids, and hope that the team from Love Lydiard will work with the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust to incorporate the best of their ideas."
The Labour Councillor for Lydiard & Freshbrook Ward, Cllr Matthew Courtliff, said:
“I welcome the fact that the Council have listened to my residents through our hard fought campaign, and not passed on the responsibility for running Lydiard to a private company to be run for personal gain. Given the opaque way this decision was taken, I welcome Lydiard Park Heritage Trust and look forward to them engaging with Lydiard’s excellent staff and the park’s visitors over their vision for Lydiard. It’s crucial that everybody feels like they have a stake in Lydiard and that decisions regarding the future of the park are taken with residents, for residents.”