Saturday, 23 January 2016

Lydiard Park Public Meeting 13.1.16

The Friends of Lydiard Park convened a meeting last week led by Mike Bowden, Chair of the Friends.
The meeting was very emotional, with feelings running high. Mike himself was so overwhelmed by the turn out which may have been as many as 800 people, that he found it hard to begin the meeting, he was so overcome with emotion. Since the meeting, people I know have been talking about the amazing feeling of community spirit. This is what Mike Bowden put on the Facebook page the next day:
'13 Jan 2016 — Around 600 people packed into the school hall last night - thank you for your overwhelming support

We ran out of chairs , car parking spaces and literature .The pa system was inadequate -for which my sincere apologies
For those that wanted to speak and couldn't -again my apologies -but with over 200 questions submitted plus dozens on the night it just wasn't possible to give everyone an opportunity to have their say
Let's see how things develop in the coming days
All the very best
Mike'
This is the petition giving information about the Friends' petition to keep the park and house in public ownership:
https://www.change.org/p/swindon-borough-council-lydiard-house-and-park-at-risk?tk=fJq277tfxnJJbc4pxQT4JTXAqpv1dQCeGTwEB49GQIs&utm_source=petition_update&utm_medium=email

Here's an idea of the atmosphere in the hall, it wasn't easy to take photos because I didn't feel comfortable standing up from within the seated mass of people, maybe I should have joined people standing around the edges:

 Cllr Garry Perkins spoke on behalf of the council, and Matt Courtliffe representing Labour, seen below here with Lord Joel Joffe who summed up the way forward perfectly.
Sarah Finch-Crisp is helping with the microphone usage.
 One last photo of Mike Bowden with his arms folded, having done everything he could to move the process forward and keep Lydiard Park in public ownership for the people of Swindon.
 The Link has covered this wonderfully as well:http://swindonlink.com/2016/01/the-future-of-lydiard-park-swindon-debated-at-packed-public-meeting/?platform=hootsuite
and wonderfully Swindon Viewpoint filmed it:
http://www.swindonviewpoint.com/video/protect-lydiard-park-meeting-part-1
Since then, there has been a council meeting on Thursday evening where the future of Lydiard Park was discussed, I didn't go to that meeting, but this is what I heard:
Mike Bowden spoke at council meeting.
Friends of Lydiard forming an independent not for profit charitable trust "or similar".  Bid to be directed by a steering group of 12 people. The Council agreed to three month delay while trust gets its bid together, but rejected Labour amendment to remove the option of granting lease to a private company.
The Swindon Advertiser has reported these meetings as well, this being the latest: http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/14222408.Break_in_Lydiard_lease_plans_agreed/

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