CONCERNS have been raised over the future of some of Swindon’s most treasured spaces as Lydiard Park is in danger of being handed out of council control.

As part of the Leisure and Culture Exchange Programme, talks are ongoing to relinquish control of leisure centres around the town to allow the council to cut costs.

And the Friends of Lydiard Park, among other stakeholders, have been approached by the council to discuss the possibility of taking on some of the administration of Lydiard House.

Coun Cindy Matthews (Lab, Lydaird and Freshbrook), has appealed to save the local park.

“All the sports centres are up for an optional appraisal, and Lydiard Park, as a country park, is next in line,” she said.

“The council are saying that they cannot continue to subsidise them, but I would ask what sort of country are we living in if we are to auction off all our lovely spaces?

“Sports centres are different because they are looking for a chain to come in and take them over, but the future of the country parks are a little more murky.

“The council cannot afford the investment and subsidy, but for children to swim and skate is a fundamental part of their childhood.

“It is all just about cutting costs. Our complaint is that they can find £15m for a new car park but have to sell off their valuable assets.”

In 2003 the park received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which sought to revitalise the area.

“They have to be careful what they do with the park because they received a lottery grant, and that needs to be preserved,” added Coun Matthews. “They restored the lake and put in a new dam, and they did a beautiful job. It used to be a muddy puddle, but now it looks magnificent.

“We have got three lovely country parks in Swindon, and I think they are a real asset to the town, so they should be retained.”

A Swindon Council spokesman said: “We are facing unprecedented financial challenges and it has been well documented that we are looking at alternative ways of providing the town’s current leisure and cultural services.

“Part of that work involves identifying and developing commercial and/or charitable opportunities at sites including The Platform, Lydiard House and Park, Coate Water Country Park, Stanton Park and Steam.

“We have met various stakeholders who have indicated an interest in this part of our Leisure and Culture Change Programme, but these have been preliminary discussions no proposals have been put forward.

“We expect a report on potential opportunities will be brought before Cabinet in February next year.”