Target business to improve parks, urges heritage chief

£5m park project is used as role model for other greenspaces

A rallying call has been made to get local businesses involved in sustaining and improving parks. The motivational talk came from Sarah Finch-Crisp at the Historic European Parks and their Communities conference in London last week. Finch-Crisp has led a £5m pioneering project to restore Lydiard Park and House in Swindon. In her role as head of heritage and keeper of the historic site for Swindon Borough Council, she initiated a £3m Heritage Lottery Fund programme to restore the 105ha 18th-century parkland and gardens. The project, which began last September, has had unprecedented local business investment and employee involvement. Finch-Crisp said this can be achieved nationwide, adding: “We’d like to use Lydiard Park as a role model for other parks. It shows how businesses can be used in the community and with heritage projects.” She said that to harness support, councils and other groups should involve local businesses from an early stage. “You must share plans with your business people early on. If they are involved at the start, it is far more compelling for them.”

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