New Local Policy: Protecting Swindon’s Parks and Leisure Facilities
While the reports of Swindon Borough Council leaders selling off Lydiard Park have been refuted by Swindon Conservative councillors, the issue did raise an important point that there is concern among the residents of Swindon and the surrounding area public parks and leisure facilities may not be safe from being sold off for profit in the future.
Indeed, the Swindon Borough Council Leisure and Culture Change Programme newsletter published on 19th April 2013 states that, with regard to leisure centres and golf courses, the Council agreed “We will seek expressions of interest externally to explore how provision could be offered at a significantly reduced cost. This could be from the private, voluntary or charity sector” and that the Council had highlighted other areas of research including their intention to “Explore and identify further commercial and/or charitable opportunities at the Platform, Lydiard House and Park, Coate Water Country Park, Stanton Park & STEAM.”
At the Swindon Area Green Party meeting on Tuesday 18th March 2014, meeting attendees voted to adopt the following statement as local policy:
“We believe public parks and leisure facilities currently owned by Swindon Borough Council should continue to be run by Swindon Borough Council, or a not-for-profit organisation, for the benefit of Swindon residents. In addition to this, no not-for-profit organisation should hold a lease to run these facilities for more than 25 years.”