SWINDON Council is set to sell the land around Barbury Castle in a bid to raise cash for a visitor centre.

The land surrounding the iron age fort will be sold off to build houses, a pony trekking business, a campsite, and a B&B, and the money will be used to create the tourist centre close to the fort.

The cabinet gave the plans the thumbs-up last week.

Depending on how much it can be auctioned for, the council may be able to build a better-than-expected centre.

Coun Nick Martin (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms), cabinet member for parks, said he was hoping for around £250,000 to build the centre.

But the cabinet plans also contain provision for a £375,000 centre, if they can get that much cash.

Coun Martin said: “The biggest issue is to raise the appropriate sum of money. I’d be surprised if work started before 2012. That doesn’t mean we will change our minds or anything like that, but councils don’t work at an electrifying speed.”

The first 2,300 sq m parcel to be sold has an bungalow on it at the moment. Permission is being sought would allow this to be demolished and a new one built in its place. Later on, permission will be sought to build a B&B, a campsite, and pony trekking area.