SWINDON Town have unveiled plans for new £6 million training headquarters on the former Twelve Oaks Golf Club site in Highworth.

Town, whose chairman Lee Power bought the site in late 2015, hope to include a purpose-built training centre, gymnasium and offices within the new 26,000 square foot complex, with the existing golf club building becoming the players’ restaurant and catering facilities.

Eight grass training pitches and a full-size all-weather illuminated pitch are also included in the proposals, the latter being made available for use by the community throughout the year.

Town hope to submit a formal planning application later this year.

Alongside the plans is a proposal for residential development on land formerly part of the golf club which has planning permission for use as a holiday lodge site. The residential aspect of the scheme is expected to form a key part of funding the football-related plans.

Les Durrant, managing director of DPDS Consulting Group who are advising Town as planning consultants and architects, said: “The principle of development of this area of land was established by the decision to allow holiday lodges on it and we are proposing that the lodges are replaced with permanent new homes. This will be a key element in funding the new training facility.’’

Permission has already been granted for the golf club’s former driving range to be used as two training pitches, with the remaining land not required for the new training centre complex to be used for an “equine establishment.’’

The latest proposals, which include improved access from Lechlade Road and additional car parking, expand on Town’s initial plans revealed to Highworth Town Council last year, although it remains unclear how the remaining funding for scheme will be raised.

Power previously raised the spectre of working alongside the executors of the will of lifelong Town supporter Nigel Eady, who is believed to have left in the region of £2 million to go towards a project for the benefit of the club and wider community, although executors said last year that only initial discussions had taken place between themselves and the club.

Town manager Phil Brown said: “Having a purpose-built high-quality training facility will be a key element in the drive to gain promotion from League Two and onwards to higher levels of football.

“This is a fantastic opportunity also for the local community in Swindon and Highworth and should help attract aspiring young footballers. I am looking forward to working closely with the local community to develop this fantastic new facility.’’

Former Town goalkeeper Fraser Digby, who has been working on behalf of DPDS, said “Swindon Town have never had their own purpose-built training centre and this proposal marks a major step forward for the club.

“Modern state-of-the-art training facilities are essential in order to attract both young and experienced players to the club and form a major part of the club’s youth development programme.

“We want local talented young footballers to choose Swindon Town rather than be tempted elsewhere to clubs who have better facilities.’’

“I have worked very closely with the local football clubs in the area and I know they are all very excited about this new development as it will help all football clubs in the locality, not just Swindon Town, and I am really looking forward to helping deliver the project.’’

Town will hold a community consultation event at Highworth Town Council’s offices at Gilberts Lane on Saturday, June 16 (9.30am-2pm), where plans will be on display and representatives from the club and the consultancy team on hand to answer questions.

Durrant added: “We consulted Highworth Town Council last year to outline the initial proposals and they specifically asked us to undertake some community consultation when more details were available.

“We will do this on June 16 and return to a future meeting with Highworth Town Council to discuss both the proposals and the reaction that we receive as a result of the consultation event.’’