HIGHWORTH Town councillors are seeking further clarification on Swindon Town’s training ground plans before making any recommendations.

At tonight’s planning meeting, the club’s plans to develop the Twelve Oaks site, which is owned by chairman Lee Power, was raised for a second time, following a presentation made by DPDS, on behalf of Swindon Town, back in April.

The presentation outlined ideas of developing the facilities at the former golf course, where Swindon were training sporadically at last season, into a training ground and headquarters for the football club as well as a community asset, with an all-weather 4G pitch and nine full size pitches.

However, at last night’s meeting, concerns were expressed by a number of the councillors on the development, with a letter being received from a nearby farm detailing the impact the training ground could have on their business, which includes a livery stables, when it comes to noise.

The site has planning permission for 18 holiday lodges, which DPDS have expressed would not be compatible with the training facility but asked for views on the construction of a number of dwellings on the site which, after construction and sale, could provide the necessary extra funding for the project.

That was also met with apprehension, with regard to the traffic restrictions, as was the light pollution from floodlights, which councillors fought before when the site was used for golf.

Concerns were also raised on how much the local community of Highworth would benefit from the facility, despite the initial presentation outlining that a large proportion of land to the rear of the property was left open to suggestion for community use.

Speaking during the meeting, councillor Maureen Penny said: "I have had a word with planning in Swindon on this and they have intimated, although anything could change, that they wouldn't be happy with the holiday lodges being made into homes because of the traffic restrictions and the restrictions that were placed on the holiday lodges when they came out.

"They are worried about the all-weather pitch being at the furthest field away from Highworth because they feel it wouldn't be of any community benefit, as people wouldn't want to drive down there.

"We fought very hard and very long against the owner of that land before to stop him putting floodlights in because of all the different bats, owls and birds down there and the pollution of light.

"If it is not anywhere near the clubhouse, I don't see if it is really going to be of any benefit to Highworth and therefore I think we should oppose it.

"I don't have any real problems with them having the football pitches, as long as they put sound proofing in and around the edges so that it doesn't interfere with the farmland.

"I also don't have any problems with them having a bigger building for their indoor training facility. They do need something and I don't have a problem with that, if they can afford it." 

It was recommended by the councillors that a letter would be sent to DPDS inviting them to return to give further details and clarification to their plans.