Swindon councillors have tonight formally agreed to pause plans to lease Lydiard Park and House for three months to allow a local bid to be put together.

In order to cut the annual £450,000 subsidy for the historic attraction, Swindon Borough Council are proposing to let another organisation take over its running.

Among those interested, are local organisation the Friends of Lydiard but they claimed the initial timeframe, which would have seen the lease signed by April 1, was not long enough to put together a proper bid.

Following a public meeting last week attended by more than 600 local residents, it was agreed to bring in a three month extension and tonight full council ratified that proposal.

It is now expected a decision on Lydiard’s future will be made at a cabinet meeting in June.

The meeting was addressed by the chair of the Friends of Lydiard Mike Bowden, who was behind a petition which gathered around 10,000 signatures.

He announced an independent charitable trust is being established to front the local bid. It will be guided by a steering group made up from local volunteers and a councillor from both Labour and the Conservatives.

All parties were in agreement with the idea of introducing a three month break, but Labour wanted the council to work exclusively with a new trust.

However, this motion was defeated and private companies will also be invited to tender bids.