FORMER Swindon Town goalkeeper Fraser Digby is optimistic that the club have made the first step in providing a training ground facility that the local community can be proud of.
Digby, 49, has been involved in the project since the initial stages when the club were trying to locate a site for the new training ground, having left their temporary home in Liddington.
With Town chairman Lee Power having purchased the Twelve Oaks Golf Club in Highworth back in November 2015, Digby has since been brought on board by Swindon-based planning consultancy firm DPDS to help deliver the new facility and liaise with potential investors, including the Nigel Eady Trust, with whom they have had one meeting.
Having been involved in the delivery of Royal Wootton Bassett Sports Association’s Gerard Buxton facility, which is currently being used as a temporary training ground by Town, with the Twelves Oaks site not fit for purpose at this stage, Digby is experienced in this field and is excited about delivering a first for the club.
“DPDS were appointed by the club, to have the communications with the Eady Trust and to develop the planning for the training ground,” he told the Advertiser.
“These conversations have been going on for a while. Les (Durrant, DPDS managing director) has been involved and then Les spoke to me and asked me to come on board to develop the scheme.
“It is something that I am passionate about. Like with the Wootton Bassett scheme, it was always something I wanted to be involved in and to leave a legacy of these facilities to the community.
“This is on a different scale because this is a professional football club but one that is very close to my heart and when Les said: ‘Will you help me with it?’ I said yes.
“It is not something that is going to happen overnight. There is so much that needs to be done.”
Swindon released the latest development in their training ground visions via a statement late on Tuesday night at the request of DPDS following a meeting Digby and Les Durrant had attended with the planning committee of Highworth Town Council.
Digby is confident that they can continue to be transparent with the fans of the club, as well as the local community in Highworth, moving forward in order to provide a facility that benefits everyone.
“The first rung of the ladder was the meeting with Highworth Town council,” said Digby. “We did a very brief presentation to them.
“There’s a hell of a lot of hoops to jump through and people have already questioned: ‘Why release the news now?’ But what you’ll learn from Les is that he is very transparent and we believe in doing things correctly and that was the right cause of action, to meet with them.
“People expressed a few views and this is what it is about, getting information from the planners, from the council and going forward from there.
“Hopefully, we’ll succeed in having what will potentially be a fantastic facility, not just for the football club, because it’s one we’ve never had, but for the local community as well.”