Swindon Borough Council Unilaterally Abandons the Process
16 February 2018
After a 2.5 year outsourcing process Swindon Borough Council have unilaterally decided to abandon plans to transfer operational and management control of Lydiard Park to the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust and bring the process to an end. Their decision leaves Lydiard without an effective management team and at grave risk. Despite publically acknowledging they do not have the skills and experience to run such an important heritage asset, the Council has rejected the sustainable future offered by the charitable Trust. The legal advice the Council used to justify their decision to the Trust, results from their own inaccurate disclosures made to all bidders in 2015/6, and suggests that the process was fatally flawed from the outset.
The shock decision came on 8 February 2018 when Trustees of the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust (LPHT) met with Swindon Council to discuss the outstanding due diligence issues jointly identified. Since that meeting, SBC have refused to cooperate in the writing of accurate minutes and their unilateral public announcement of 16th February is in direct contraction to the fact that both parties agreed to work on a joint statement – SBC did not even have the courtesy to copy us on their press release.
Mike Bowden, Chair of the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust said:
“We are deeply concerned about the future of Lydiard Park. I have seen the comments from Cllr Perkins made to the BBC earlier today and I think it is clear that he is concentrating more on the upcoming local elections in May than on the future wellbeing of Lydiard House and Park. We have always stressed that the Trust is not party political and our sole interest is finding a sustainable future for Lydiard. However, without the local elections in mind people might like to hear what has actually happened during the 2.5 year process and why the Council’s decision to continue to manage Lydiard puts its future in real jeopardy. The parlous state of the mechanics Institute and well publicised concerns around the Health Hydro show all to clearly what can happen if well-loved heritage and leisure assets are run by organisations that don’t have the necessary skills or interest to care for them. We were warned by many parties that attempting to work in partnership with Swindon Council would prove impossible but we genuinely felt that Lydiard was too important to neglect and that a fresh opportunity existed to work with the council to create a secure future for Lydiard”.
Click here for our full press release
Click here for the SBC incomplete version of the 8 February meeting minutes (you will also note the agreement to issue a joint press release which SBC subsequently reneged on)
Click here for the LPHT complete version of the 8 February meeting minutes
Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet ratifies the bid assessment teams recommendation to award the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust with preferred bidder status
15 March 2017
We now enter into a phase known as ‘due diligence’, which entails detailed discussions on all aspects of the lease. We expect that to take about six months, after which we will enter into a transition phase where the management of the park is moved, over a period of months, from the Council to the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust.
We will endeavour to keep everyone updated whenever appropriate via this website, our Facebook and Twitter accounts, press releases to the media, email newsletters and by attending relevant public events.
Other Lydiard Park Related Websites
- Click here for the Friends of Lydiard Park website
- Click here for the Friends of Lydiard Park Blog
- Click here for the Lydiard Park website
- Click here for the Swindon Heritage magazine – for lovers of local history
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