Creative, civic-minded entrepreneurs are being encouraged to come forward with ideas to enhance Swindon’s country parks.
Last year, more than a thousand members of the public contributed to Swindon’s proposed Country Parks Improvement Plan, which aims to identify and then deliver improvements to the Borough’s parks so they continue to be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.
So far, plans are in place to refurbish and clean the iconic Coate Water diving board, while £500,000 will be spent building a brand-new accessible play park at Coate Water. Improvements have also been made to the children’s play area at Lydiard Park.
Now Swindon Borough Council is keen to hear from the commercial sector in order to explore potential options to enhance existing facilities and create new ones to maximise the visitor experience in the Borough’s various country parks and preserve them for future generations.
A range of ideas will be considered including everything from catering, health and well-being and leisure activities to one-off events and seasonal hospitality.
A robust assessment criteria and checklist has been agreed for any proposals put forward with the Council retaining ownership of its green assets.
As each site and proposal will be unique in its offer, the Council’s approach will be flexible and apply common sense. Local stakeholders will have the chance to have their say to ensure the best outcome is delivered for each site and the people of Swindon.
Councillor Robert Jandy, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage, Leisure and Town Centre Experience, said: “We are incredibly lucky in Swindon to be blessed with the most amazing country parks and our Parks Strategy is focused on making them even better for local people.
“We have already committed a significant amount of money to improve the play facilities and heritage assets within the parks as part of the strategy, but now we want to hear from the commercial sector so we can begin to explore opportunities to enhance the experiences of all visitors.
“This exercise is centred on improving our existing amenities and facilities and is in no way looking to sell off any parts of our parks. If any of our existing operators at Coate Water are interested in expanding or creating new facilities we’d be keen to hear from them.
“There may also be new operators who can see potential in one of our parks to provide a service to visitors.
“This is a great opportunity to bring in much-needed income to make our parks sustainable, while also giving local businesses and entrepreneurs the chance to show off their creative ideas and talents within some of the Borough’s most beautiful settings. If you have an idea please get in touch as we’d love to hear from you.”
Expressions of interest can be submitted to the Council from now until midnight on Friday, 26 March by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form. Further information is available at: www.swindon.gov.uk/parksconsultation