Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Public engagement day at Lydiard Park November 18.

I am publishing today a statement issued by The Friends of Lydiard Park.

The Friends of Lydiard Park is an independent charity dedicated to supporting the conservation and continued enhancement of Lydiard House and Park. Founded in 2005 it is the successor to the Friends of Lydiard Tregoz whose 40 years of published research raised awareness and appreciation of this unique historic estate.

The Friends were instrumental in Lydiard's major landscape restoration project (2001-7) and today we play an active and important role in the protection, promotion, conservation and interpretation of the House and Park and St. Mary's Church Lydiard Tregoze.

Swindon Borough Council is inviting people to attend events tomorrow (Wednesday 18) and Sunday 22 November at the Visitor Centre, Lydiard Park, to give their views on what elements of Lydiard are important to them. A new partner/s is being sought to run Lydiard House and Park and while we appreciate the severe financial constraints that all local authority's face, the Trustees of the Friends are opposed to:

1. Any arrangement that would cause harm or loss to the significance and historical important of Lydiard House and Park.

2. Any situation that involves the closure or a reduction in free access to the Park and grounds by the general public.

3. Any situation that involves the closure or a reduction in access to the Lydiard House Museum and Walled Garden by the general public.

4. Any destruction of the historic landscape and structures within the Park which were restored as part of the £5.1m Heritage Lottery Fund Project.

6. Any arrangement which would harm, disperse or sell any part of the historic Lydiard House Museum collections, including such items as paintings, artefacts, archives, and furnishings.

7. Any arrangement that would involve the sale or sub-letting of the Park and Lydiard House Museum.

8. Any arrangement that significantly contradicts the long term plans fro Lydiard Park submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2005.

9. No binding decisions on the future of Lydiard House and Park to be made without full and transparent compliance with Swindon Borough Council's recently established Consultation Policy.

Please let us know if you agree with these 'red lines' - full details of the events and how to email your views are on the Lydiard Park website:

Nothwithstanding the 'red lines' listed above, we believe that there are credible and acceptable changes which could be made at Lydiard Park to help Swindon Borough Council meet their financial objectives. Just some examples which could be explored in a proper consultation process are:

Enhanced revenue from the regeneration of the conference centre facility, potentially involving a new external partner providing weddings (including working with St Mary's Church), hospitality and events.

Car park charges with appropriate safeguards for local residents.

Increased revenue from an enhanced cafe/catering offer by SBC or an external partner.

Increased promotion of the unique combination of Lydiard House, St Mary's Church and the historic Park as a tourist destination.

If you are interested in adding your support please join the Friends of Lydiard Park.

Trustees meeting - Friends of Lydiard Park

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