What now for popular park?

Lydiard Park, in West Swindon, a much loved beauty spot enjoyed by residents

Lydiard Park, in West Swindon, a much loved beauty spot enjoyed by residents

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @Michael_Benke

LYDIARD Park could be put in the hands of a specially formed trust, following an angry debate at Thursday’s council meeting.

The future of the historic site has been the centre of much contention following claims from the Labour Group that there are plans to sell it into private hands, which the Conservatives have vehemently denied.

A Tory motion criticised the actions of some councillors in making the statement and said a report should be prepared looking at how to preserve the park while reducing its dependence on public money.

Among the options on the table was putting the park into the hands of a trust, which Labour have said is not the responsible thing to do.

Council leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) said: “The position at the moment is the park is subsidised to a significant extent. In a time when the public purse is stretched it is the responsible thing to look at ways to reduce this subsidy.

“I can categorically say we are not looking to put the park in private hands and I don’t think there is any member in the chamber who would support that decision.

“If a trust is the way forward then I will support that and even if keeping things the way they are is the way then I will support “In the leisure and culture programme we said we would look at ways to increase the commercial viability of Lydiard Park and I have no idea how you make the leap from that to selling it into private hands.

“I have to say I am very disappointed with some of the actions of councillors who have been saying we are selling it off as though it is fact.”

Labour have criticised the move and said putting the park out of the council’s hands is not a sensible move.

Group leader Jim Grant (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney) said: “I am very concerned about the Conservatives’ idea to transfer Lydiard Park and Lydiard House to an unknown trust and I think it has justified the campaign to keep Lydiard Park and House under council ownership.

“Setting up a trust would, in effect, be transferring the park away from the council and is a terrible idea because who is better placed to manage Lydiard Park than Swindon Council?

“And also we have no idea who this trust will be, nor who the trustees of the group will be, nor any guarantees that this trust will follow the same approach to Lydiard Park management as the council have taken.

“Lydiard Park is used and enjoyed by tens of thousands of residents every year and it is a fantastic public asset for Swindon residents. People will rightly be asking, as Lydiard Park is such a success, why does anything need to change?”

Council officers will now look into the future of the park and report back later this year.

Comments (24)

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6:45am Sat 5 Apr 14

Robh says...

If Labour take control of the council: Council Tax will go up by 25%, the Mechanics Institute will be demolished, bus services will not be subsidised but they won't sell off Lydiard Park until it is mortgaged to he hilt.

We can all give scandalous comments if only to oppose them.
If Labour take control of the council: Council Tax will go up by 25%, the Mechanics Institute will be demolished, bus services will not be subsidised but they won't sell off Lydiard Park until it is mortgaged to he hilt. We can all give scandalous comments if only to oppose them. Robh
  • Score: 5

8:20am Sat 5 Apr 14

Always Grumpy says...

Quote from Jim Grant...............
..
“Setting up a trust would, in effect, be transferring the park away from the council and is a terrible idea because who is better placed to manage Lydiard Park than Swindon Council?

Swindon Council couldn't manage a p1ss up in Arkells Brewery, let alone manage any of Swindon's assets!
The phrase 'totally incompetent' springs to mind whenever Swindon Council try to 'manage' anything.
Quote from Jim Grant............... .. “Setting up a trust would, in effect, be transferring the park away from the council and is a terrible idea because who is better placed to manage Lydiard Park than Swindon Council? Swindon Council couldn't manage a p1ss up in Arkells Brewery, let alone manage any of Swindon's assets! The phrase 'totally incompetent' springs to mind whenever Swindon Council try to 'manage' anything. Always Grumpy
  • Score: 18

8:26am Sat 5 Apr 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

I expect we'll see all manner of unelected, ill informed members of the public thinking that they know best.
I expect we'll see all manner of unelected, ill informed members of the public thinking that they know best. Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: -9

9:44am Sat 5 Apr 14

House with no name says...

It is for reasons like this that I refuse to donate my GWR antiques to STEAM museum - Who knows what ludicrous political decisions will be made in the future.
It is for reasons like this that I refuse to donate my GWR antiques to STEAM museum - Who knows what ludicrous political decisions will be made in the future. House with no name
  • Score: 8

10:20am Sat 5 Apr 14

stratton man says...

If it is transferred to a trust it will be removed from public ownership and elected accountability.The Tories want to destroy everything that makes Swindon worth living in.
If it is transferred to a trust it will be removed from public ownership and elected accountability.The Tories want to destroy everything that makes Swindon worth living in. stratton man
  • Score: 1

11:50am Sat 5 Apr 14

ChannelX says...


"who is better placed to manage Lydiard Park than Swindon Council?"


Just about anyone, but particularly organisations and companies that specialise in such things.
[quote] "who is better placed to manage Lydiard Park than Swindon Council?" [/quote] Just about anyone, but particularly organisations and companies that specialise in such things. ChannelX
  • Score: 7

12:31pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Oik1 says...

"Lydiard Park is used and enjoyed by tens of thousands of residents every year and it is a fantastic public asset for Swindon residents"

If the place is that much loved by Swindon residents then why not charge a modest entry fee, lets say £1 per person?
And yes, I understand it's already being subsidised by Swindon residents but how much do you want it?
"Lydiard Park is used and enjoyed by tens of thousands of residents every year and it is a fantastic public asset for Swindon residents" If the place is that much loved by Swindon residents then why not charge a modest entry fee, lets say £1 per person? And yes, I understand it's already being subsidised by Swindon residents but how much do you want it? Oik1
  • Score: -7

2:26pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Amberflame says...

£1 per person everytime they enter Lydiard Park. So, a dog walker who may like to take their dog for a walk perhaps 2 or 3 times a week will pay £1 each time? Or say a family of 4 who just want to have a stroll around the park a couple of times a week?? Don't think you have thought your idea through!
£1 per person everytime they enter Lydiard Park. So, a dog walker who may like to take their dog for a walk perhaps 2 or 3 times a week will pay £1 each time? Or say a family of 4 who just want to have a stroll around the park a couple of times a week?? Don't think you have thought your idea through! Amberflame
  • Score: 4

2:54pm Sat 5 Apr 14

roberto5 says...

Amberflame wrote:
£1 per person everytime they enter Lydiard Park. So, a dog walker who may like to take their dog for a walk perhaps 2 or 3 times a week will pay £1 each time? Or say a family of 4 who just want to have a stroll around the park a couple of times a week?? Don't think you have thought your idea through!
Quote from Jim Grant...............

..
“Setting up a trust would, in effect, be transferring the park away from the council and is a terrible idea because who is better placed to manage Lydiard Park than Swindon Council?

Jim are you on heroin?!.
[quote][p][bold]Amberflame[/bold] wrote: £1 per person everytime they enter Lydiard Park. So, a dog walker who may like to take their dog for a walk perhaps 2 or 3 times a week will pay £1 each time? Or say a family of 4 who just want to have a stroll around the park a couple of times a week?? Don't think you have thought your idea through![/p][/quote]Quote from Jim Grant............... .. “Setting up a trust would, in effect, be transferring the park away from the council and is a terrible idea because who is better placed to manage Lydiard Park than Swindon Council? Jim are you on heroin?!. roberto5
  • Score: -1

3:54pm Sat 5 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

Ollie Dognacky wrote:
I expect we'll see all manner of unelected, ill informed members of the public thinking that they know best.
As if the ones elected ones know anything, just look at this sh1thole of a rundown town and all the debt we have! Mucking Fuppets the lot of them.
[quote][p][bold]Ollie Dognacky[/bold] wrote: I expect we'll see all manner of unelected, ill informed members of the public thinking that they know best.[/p][/quote]As if the ones elected ones know anything, just look at this sh1thole of a rundown town and all the debt we have! Mucking Fuppets the lot of them. house on the hill
  • Score: 8

5:46pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Oik1 says...

Like I said Amberflame, it depends on how much you want it.
If the council can no longer afford to keep the park as it is, then changes will have to be made and rightly so.
At present Lydiard Park is subsidised by all Swindon residents from council tax income, the present council members have a duty to reduce this subsidy where possible and what can be fairer than those that use the facility helping out a little more for it's upkeep.
If as has been said the park is used by tens of thousands of people, then at £1 per person it won't need to be subsidised by the council to the sum it presently is, and those that use the facility will pay a little more for it, I for one can't see anything wrong with that at all.
Like I said Amberflame, it depends on how much you want it. If the council can no longer afford to keep the park as it is, then changes will have to be made and rightly so. At present Lydiard Park is subsidised by all Swindon residents from council tax income, the present council members have a duty to reduce this subsidy where possible and what can be fairer than those that use the facility helping out a little more for it's upkeep. If as has been said the park is used by tens of thousands of people, then at £1 per person it won't need to be subsidised by the council to the sum it presently is, and those that use the facility will pay a little more for it, I for one can't see anything wrong with that at all. Oik1
  • Score: 0

6:48pm Sat 5 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

That is true, there is a question to be answered of how much taxpayers money should be spent if so few use it? And the same with Coate. Personally I don't have an issue paying £1 to use them each time if that extra money is put straight back into parks, what would worry me if there was a fee would be where would that money actually go.
That is true, there is a question to be answered of how much taxpayers money should be spent if so few use it? And the same with Coate. Personally I don't have an issue paying £1 to use them each time if that extra money is put straight back into parks, what would worry me if there was a fee would be where would that money actually go. house on the hill
  • Score: 2

6:55pm Sat 5 Apr 14

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Interestingly the article doesn't state how much the park is "subsidised by". That subsidy as it is called is paid by the council tax paying public many of whom use the facilities.

The idea that people should pay a token amount just to walk their dog or for their children to run around is ludicrous, perhaps you want to apply the same rules to every park and open green space as they are subsidised in some way or another because the council has to spend some money maintaining it; even if its just cutting the grass.
Interestingly the article doesn't state how much the park is "subsidised by". That subsidy as it is called is paid by the council tax paying public many of whom use the facilities. The idea that people should pay a token amount just to walk their dog or for their children to run around is ludicrous, perhaps you want to apply the same rules to every park and open green space as they are subsidised in some way or another because the council has to spend some money maintaining it; even if its just cutting the grass. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 6

9:17pm Sat 5 Apr 14

trolley dolley says...

Mr Grant must get a grip on reality.

Every time he is quoted in the advertiser it comes across as a silly remark.

The Conservatives must think they are lucky to have a person in charge of the opposition who makes these remarks so often.
Mr Grant must get a grip on reality. Every time he is quoted in the advertiser it comes across as a silly remark. The Conservatives must think they are lucky to have a person in charge of the opposition who makes these remarks so often. trolley dolley
  • Score: 6

12:09am Sun 6 Apr 14

madreeves says...

Is this just about the park or does it include the house as well? I can see the Council wanting to transfer the house over to a Trust as it must cost a small fortune to run/staff. I know loads of people who go to the park but only about 2 people who've been in the house. I've never been in there I'm ashamed to say.
Is this just about the park or does it include the house as well? I can see the Council wanting to transfer the house over to a Trust as it must cost a small fortune to run/staff. I know loads of people who go to the park but only about 2 people who've been in the house. I've never been in there I'm ashamed to say. madreeves
  • Score: 6

9:27am Sun 6 Apr 14

Davey Gravey says...

How anyone could vote Tory after what they are doing to the town I do not know?
They have wasted our money and wreck public services whilst flogging everything off.
How anyone could vote Tory after what they are doing to the town I do not know? They have wasted our money and wreck public services whilst flogging everything off. Davey Gravey
  • Score: -5

10:01am Sun 6 Apr 14

1 2 Could B says...

trolley dolley wrote:
Mr Grant must get a grip on reality.

Every time he is quoted in the advertiser it comes across as a silly remark.

The Conservatives must think they are lucky to have a person in charge of the opposition who makes these remarks so often.
Perhaps they do, but that doesn't justify their continuing arrogant incompetence does it?
[quote][p][bold]trolley dolley[/bold] wrote: Mr Grant must get a grip on reality. Every time he is quoted in the advertiser it comes across as a silly remark. The Conservatives must think they are lucky to have a person in charge of the opposition who makes these remarks so often.[/p][/quote]Perhaps they do, but that doesn't justify their continuing arrogant incompetence does it? 1 2 Could B
  • Score: 1

10:31am Sun 6 Apr 14

Morsey says...

Maybe a pause for thought? This house and grounds was acquired in the good old days for the the use of and enjoyment of SWINDON RESIDENTS in perpetuity!

These newcomers arrive in our town, take over the Council, and use the total fabrication that their parent group of politicians spout out and that is the bull that the UK is in total financial sh1t!

This reasoning has been used to totally bemuse the public into thinking we cannot afford any publicly owned facilities anymore and anything saleable must be sold off to private individuals or put in their hands 'to save it'!! Total cr@p!

Just look at the millions of pounds raised by the televised charity collections, most of which ends up overseas in the wrong hands anyway! Look around the sales of over-priced cars, which they keep telling us are selling like hot cakes, look at overseas aid and billions found for 'emergencies' like flooding, and the reduction in taxation for the wealthy.

WE are not a country of poverty, it's just that the money is not shared proportionately. Next time you pass by a Marina, count the number of yachts and other luxurious craft stored there, often worth six figures each ... we are a destitute country ... as Jim Royle would say "My arse!"

Just how much does it cost to run Lydiard Park ... they are having a laugh ... it's doesn't cost rent, they pay no Council Tax on it ... there are few facilities which cost the tax payer other than a bit of housework on the buildings, cutting the grass, feeding the fish and running a cafe! Come orf it, Swindon Council!
Maybe a pause for thought? This house and grounds was acquired in the good old days for the the use of and enjoyment of SWINDON RESIDENTS in perpetuity! These newcomers arrive in our town, take over the Council, and use the total fabrication that their parent group of politicians spout out and that is the bull that the UK is in total financial sh1t! This reasoning has been used to totally bemuse the public into thinking we cannot afford any publicly owned facilities anymore and anything saleable must be sold off to private individuals or put in their hands 'to save it'!! Total cr@p! Just look at the millions of pounds raised by the televised charity collections, most of which ends up overseas in the wrong hands anyway! Look around the sales of over-priced cars, which they keep telling us are selling like hot cakes, look at overseas aid and billions found for 'emergencies' like flooding, and the reduction in taxation for the wealthy. WE are not a country of poverty, it's just that the money is not shared proportionately. Next time you pass by a Marina, count the number of yachts and other luxurious craft stored there, often worth six figures each ... we are a destitute country ... as Jim Royle would say "My arse!" Just how much does it cost to run Lydiard Park ... they are having a laugh ... it's doesn't cost rent, they pay no Council Tax on it ... there are few facilities which cost the tax payer other than a bit of housework on the buildings, cutting the grass, feeding the fish and running a cafe! Come orf it, Swindon Council! Morsey
  • Score: 4

10:34am Sun 6 Apr 14

Morsey says...

Awaiting the South facing fumbs from the ant - Labour brigade!

If we had sensibly paid inflation levels of Council Tax increases since they got in, the Tories would not need to sell everything off and 'create' trusts run by 'their' contacts would they?
Awaiting the South facing fumbs from the ant - Labour brigade! If we had sensibly paid inflation levels of Council Tax increases since they got in, the Tories would not need to sell everything off and 'create' trusts run by 'their' contacts would they? Morsey
  • Score: -2

11:58am Sun 6 Apr 14

Alaughaminute says...

Why don't they use it for more activities, concerts, dog shows anything were local(or bigger companys can pay for cheap advertising/sponsors
hip. Wedding in grounds or village fates, people will happily part with money if they are having a fun time. Start up a friends of Lydiard(if there isn't already one) that way volunteers could help with clean ups.
Why don't they use it for more activities, concerts, dog shows anything were local(or bigger companys can pay for cheap advertising/sponsors hip. Wedding in grounds or village fates, people will happily part with money if they are having a fun time. Start up a friends of Lydiard(if there isn't already one) that way volunteers could help with clean ups. Alaughaminute
  • Score: 5

3:15pm Sun 6 Apr 14

roberto5 says...

Can anyone tell me what the council have ever done to raise funds for the place? Anyone?
Can anyone tell me what the council have ever done to raise funds for the place? Anyone? roberto5
  • Score: 6

7:54pm Sun 6 Apr 14

Petshopgirl says...

The council have repeatedly rejected the idea of parking charges in Lydiard Park as they know it's a vote loser. Lydiard is very expensive to keep going and is currently in the wrong hands, particularly where the house is concerned. Friends of Lydiard, if they got trust status, would at least have the best interests of the house and its future at heart. As for events there, it is very expensive to do them so there is a limit to what can be generated realistically. The most recent major events cost the council ridiculous amounts of money which could have and should have been channelled into the upkeep of the house and its contents. It's Swindon's greatest asset and the sooner it's away from the clutches of the council the better. The only things that are safe there are the collections which cannot be sold (the council did look at it but found that they can't do it thankfully).
The council have repeatedly rejected the idea of parking charges in Lydiard Park as they know it's a vote loser. Lydiard is very expensive to keep going and is currently in the wrong hands, particularly where the house is concerned. Friends of Lydiard, if they got trust status, would at least have the best interests of the house and its future at heart. As for events there, it is very expensive to do them so there is a limit to what can be generated realistically. The most recent major events cost the council ridiculous amounts of money which could have and should have been channelled into the upkeep of the house and its contents. It's Swindon's greatest asset and the sooner it's away from the clutches of the council the better. The only things that are safe there are the collections which cannot be sold (the council did look at it but found that they can't do it thankfully). Petshopgirl
  • Score: 1

9:03am Mon 7 Apr 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

The users should be the payers, I think this is an excellent idea, the ones that love the park so much could still go there as many times as they want and pay for it , so that it remains a great Park for those who love Lydiard.
For those that do not really care or never go there, it saves them a few quids
More ideas like this please!
The users should be the payers, I think this is an excellent idea, the ones that love the park so much could still go there as many times as they want and pay for it , so that it remains a great Park for those who love Lydiard. For those that do not really care or never go there, it saves them a few quids More ideas like this please! A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -1

11:18am Mon 7 Apr 14

BCDR99 says...

Surely the provision of public spaces is exactly what a council SHOULD be doing, isn't it?

How there is this focus on Lydiard and Coate not making enough money when there are places like Queen's Park, Lawns and Town Gardens that have virtually zero income from things like a café, golf course etc, I'm not sure.
Surely the provision of public spaces is exactly what a council SHOULD be doing, isn't it? How there is this focus on Lydiard and Coate not making enough money when there are places like Queen's Park, Lawns and Town Gardens that have virtually zero income from things like a café, golf course etc, I'm not sure. BCDR99
  • Score: 2

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