THE DIPLAPITATED park and ride in Cricklade Road will soon be in use again following an agreement with Swindon Council and the Abbey Stadium.

Gaming International, which runs the greyhound stadium in Lady Lane, has arranged to take over maintenance and security of the abandoned site while Swindon Council develop long-term plans.

They will use the site as a park and ride for contractor staff building on the stadium, and also for community events.

It could even open it up as a park and ride for the Oasis Leisure Centre when the building work is finished.

Clarke Osbourne, chief executive of Gaming International, said: “The park and ride has been closed for some time now and it has been vandalised. “The authority is looking at the park and ride in the long term, and we have come forward with some short-term possibilities.

“It’s a good opportunity for us and I think that it will be good to have the park and ride back up and running.

“We will use it for parking at our events and we will run a shuttle bus back and forth. We will also use it for some of the contractor employees when we are building.

“Secondly there’s a big development going on at Oasis and the developers there have said they will want a park and ride from that area of Swindon to the Oasis. “No doubt once it is finished it will act as a magnet and they will want that kind of facility available.”

Clarke hopes to take on the park and ride in a couple of months once the council has finished clearing the site.

Gaming International has already arranged for a fair to take place at the site from February 14 to February 23.

Councillor Garry Perkins, cabinet member for economy, regeneration and culture, was pleased the arrangement meant the site would not be wasted.

He said: “There will be lots of things at the park and ride to do with the redevelopment of the Abbey Stadium.

“They will take on the site on behalf of the council for a period of about 12 months to be reviewed every six months.”

The site closed in 2009. On several occasions gypsies have moved in and last August the building was gutted by fire.

Concerns have been raised about its suitability for hosting a fair.

Councillor Teresa Page (Lab, Penhill and Upper Stratton) said: “If the fair is just for two weeks that isn’t so bad and I think it will give the children of Penhill something to enjoy.

“If it had been for six weeks or anything I would have more concerns.

“It’s good news that it is being used and having the fair there is a start.”