See attached press release.
You may or may not already be aware that during recent months, we have, as we do every five years, been in negotiation with the farm’s owners and our landlords, Swindon Borough Council’s Property Department, for a new five-year lease.
On this occasion, for the first time in 26 years, the Property Dept has said no to a 5-year lease.
This is what they have said. ‘We plan to sell Lower Shaw Farm and build houses on the site. Even though we appreciate what you do there, the land is worth so much more than the rent you are paying that we would like to realise the cash value of this property. It is reckoned to be worth two to two and a half million pounds.’
Their proposal is to offer us a one-year lease, with possible three-month extension but with the aim of selling the farm by the end of 2007.
We are not happy about this.
How do you feel?
We think that the Council's Property Department has taken a short-sighted, unimaginative, and solely money-oriented view of the farm's value.
It looks to us as though this has been treated simply as a financial and rental matter. The Property Department’s valuers appear to have ignored the popularity of the farm, its valuable local work, and the many boxes ticked for Swindon by what takes place here. They have also ridden roughshod over the Council’s original and visionary resolution, made in the early 1980s, “to retain the farm in perpetuity”.
It strikes us that this matter requires further consultation and a closer look by people who have ideals, imagination, and the town's real and broader interests at heart. Also, the farm’s users and the people of Swindon might like to have their say!'
Lower Shaw Farm has taken years to establish itself, and has done so ‘organically’ and with the help of many people.
We remain committed in our role as guardians and custodians of a place that started as an experiment and became a success. It is now an interesting, unusual, and decidedly colourful feather in Swindon's cap.
We would like to see it continue, and thrive.
Would you? THEN SEE BELOW! And please circulate this to other supporters! Thanks.
Love and greetings from Lower Shaw Farm
Andrea, Matt, and all.
For more press coverage, and pictures of the farm in action this half-term week, see http://www.swindonlink.com
In view of the reactions and interest already aroused by the Council Property Department’s proposal (Note: this is just one department) the following event has been planned, and will take place.
Would you like to come?
LONG LIVE LOWER SHAW FARM - an open afternoon for users, supporters, friends, and anyone interested in the past, present, and future of Lower Shaw Farm. Everyone welcome.
Come and look, listen, and talk. This will be a timely reminder of what goes on down on this 'farm', an opportunity to celebrate its existence, and discuss its future. - There may be ‘fireworks’!
Time: 2pm - 5pm
(Public meeting in Centre or Cowshed at 3pm. Listen, or have your say!)
Date: Sunday 5th November
Place: Lower Shaw Farm, Old Shaw Lane, Shaw, West Swindon
Further information: telephone 01793 771080 or e-mail email@example.com
If you are unable to come to this event, do not worry. If you wish to help, there are other ways you can do so.
We have discovered that not all senior councillors and council officers are in agreement on this matter.
Writing to them, or to the local press, might help them to make up their minds, in our faour! Please write to any of the following and say whatever you like. (And please, if you don’t mind, send us a copy of what you write, so that we are ‘in the picture.’)
Editor, Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon SN1
By e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
BBC Radio Swindon, Prospect Place, Swindon SN1
Roger Ogle, Editor, Swindon Link Magazine
Councillor Roderick Bluh, Leader of the Council, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1
Gavin Jones, Chief Executive, Swindon Borough Council, Civic Offices, Swindon SN1
Councillor Nick Martin, Lead Member for Finance, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1
Marie Rosenthal, Director of Resources, Swindon Borough Council, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1
Finally, if you would like to know more about the history and uses of the farm, let us know and we will send you an up to date story-report.
Sorry this is so long. Have not had time to shorten it! x
Related: Please don’t close down our farm, Swindon Advertiser, http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/swindonnewsheadlines/display.var.990962.0.please_dont_close_down_our_farm.php