LYDIARD Park will have a bright future if people from all parties pledge to work together, Lydiard’s ward councillor has said.

Tim Swinyard has renewed his commitment to the jewel in Swindon’s crown following last week’s news that the deal was off between Swindon Borough Council and the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust for the latter to take over the running of the house and park.

Coun Swinyard has called for all parties involved in the dispute to take a moment to cool off and put the interest of Lydiard first.

He said: “It’s a shame we are in this position, but I genuinely believe Lydiard has a very bright future. Everyone involved now has to come together and discuss a way forward.”

Insisting there was “no crisis” at Lydiard, Coun Swinyard offered a set of pledges that he intends to take forward.

These include ensuring the £850,000 already earmarked for maintenance costs is properly spent and future costs are appropriately worked out; replacing the conference centre building with something “more suited to the overall setting”; holding regular events to supplement the council’s income; and working with community groups to protect the essential setting of Lydiard.

Speaking to Swindon 105.5 radio host Dave Woods this week, he said: “I understand the anger. Where we are now is not where we wanted to be originally. However, now we need to look at how we can move forward and how we can work together. We need to try to get beyond this.”

However, Coun Swinyard’s insistence that Lydiard was not in crisis stands in stark contrast with the views of Mike Bowden, chairman of the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust, who this week insisted that it was.

Kevin Fisher, a key member of the trust, welcomed Coun Swinyard’s contribution and praised his record as a campaigner for Lydiard.

He said: “Tim has been an excellent advisor to the trust and we appreciate his efforts to find a solution.” He did, however, question the councillor’s pledges.

He stressed that the £850,000 earmarked for backlog repairs is simply “not enough” and cited the £4.9m figure recommended by the trust’s surveyors.

He also questioned how feasible it would be to hold regular money-making events without causing disruption to people living nearby.

“Residents are clearly going to be affected if we put big events on all the time, and ones which probably won’t make a big difference financially anyway.”

Nevertheless, Coun Swinyard remained optimistic.

“There’s no reason why Lydiard cannot have a bright future if everybody is working towards the same goal.”