For very many of us in Swindon, Lydiard House and Country Park is a much-loved place for walking, running, barbecues and other social and sporting activity.

I made mention of Lydiard's historical significance in my Maiden Speech as an MP and was delighted when the lake was restored with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the council. I was honoured to be invited to become a Patron of the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust, which had been selected to take on the responsibility of running the House and Park. I have no doubt that the council was right to accept the trust's bid and have worked to keep negotiations going.

I was disappointed when the council decided last week that it was not able to proceed further. The question of repairs and future maintenance is a significant one, and the council has to operate within the limits of the law when it comes to public money, but I still do not accept that the end of the road has been reached. The trust has done a tremendous amount of work in order to identify the opportunities and challenges they would face, and I for one do not want to see this valuable preparation wasted. Both local ward borough councillor and Grange Park resident Tim Swinyard and I believe that the trust and the community have to be directly involved in shaping the future of Lydiard Park. I am pleased that a clear commitment to keep the park as a public asset has once again been given by the council, and that money is to be invested in repairs and renewals, but we need a solution for the longer term. I will carry on working to bring the parties together on this.

There was good news for Swindon last week as it was announced that the town had been awarded £400,000 from the government’s Land Release Fund. This funding is in addition to the £11.5m cash boost awarded to Swindon from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund a few weeks ago. The money will be used to redevelop the John Street car park in Swindon Town Centre, which will enrich a tired part of the town centre and will bring more housing, which is needed.

Another project in Swindon I am supporting is The Science Museum Group’s proposal to extend its facilities by investing in a new building. It will hopefully become home to more than 80 per cent of their collection (roughly 340,000 objects). The hope is for the building to be regularly open to the public through a programme of tours, learning and research visits. This will enable local residents to see more of the fantastic collection that The Science Museum Group have in Swindon. It’s one that we should all be very proud of.

On Monday, I attended the Affected by Cancer (abc) Annual General Meeting at the Lawn Community Centre in Swindon. This local charity, which is run by volunteers, has been working hard over the past 12 years to provide opportunities for people affected by cancer to meet socially in friendly and relaxed surroundings. You can find out more about abc by visiting their website

I also visited the Walcot Dome on Monday, where I met with the Nationwide Team who are who are consulting with the community about their proposals for new housing at Oakfield. It was refreshing to see that before drawing up their plans, they are taking local views on board about the type of houses and facilities that are needed. I was there with local resident and campaigner Roy Stephen BEM, who conveyed his views to Nationwide.