PLANS for a new £6 million Swindon Town training headquarters on the former Twelve Oaks Golf Club site in Highworth could be approved before the turn of the year.

The complex - updated proposals for which were revealed by the football club yesterday - covers 26,000 square feet and includes a training facility, gymnasium, office space and a players’ catering facility.

Should the club’s planning application be successful, the facility will house all teams – from youth, development and senior – under one roof with eight grass pitches available and one floodlit all-weather pitch.

It is expected that the club will formally submit its plans to Swindon Borough Council in the coming months and Les Durrant, managing director of DPDS – who are advising the club as planning consultants – told the Advertiser he is hopeful that the authority will approve plans on the land bought by chairman Lee Power in 2015 before the end of the year.

He said: “The programme at the moment is open-ended as much as we’re going through the consultation process through the middle part of June.

“We need to see what happens with that first. We will then, depending on how that goes, make changes to things.

“But we’re trying to get the formal planning application submitted certainly within a few months’ time – as soon as possible.

“We are conscious of the fact that we need to listen to what people have got to say.

“We’re hoping we will get formal planning permission later this year if all goes well.”

Funding for the £6 million facility will be partly covered by housing development plans included in the proposal.

Durrant confirmed additional funding will be required and expects that to come largely in the shape of grants from other sources.

Trustees of the will of Town fan Nigel Eady, understood to be in the region of £2million and ring-fenced for a project that is for the long-term benefit of the football club and wider community, have been made aware of the updated scheme but have had no contact with Town chairman Power for nearly two years and do not expect to get involved.

Durrant said: “Hopefully there will be elements of funding coming in from grants.

“Part of the package that we outlined 12 months ago is to use a site that currently has planning permission for development as a tourist site - for holiday lodgers.

“It’s proposed to be used for permanent housing, that’s part of the funding mechanism.

“It’s about trying to bring together a number of elements that will bring the whole package into being on the ground in a reasonable period of time.”

Meanwhile news of the training facility proposal has excited club figures, including first-team manager Phil Brown – who visited the Highworth site with Swindon Town chief executive Steve Anderson last month.

The club has never had its own dedicated training ground at its disposal, meaning the youth teams and first-team are separated and train in different locations.

“I know when the proposals were unveiled to the club, coaching staff and players, they were all very excited by it,” said Durrant.

“They’ve never had their own dedicated training ground, you can see online about other clubs that have got their own set-up.

“The modern-day arrangement is very much that life revolves around not so much the stadium but the training ground, where it all happens Monday to Friday.

“Stadiums now are very much a matchday event rather than a seven day per week event.

“I know the club is very excited about the prospect of being able to deliver this.

“It’s a leisure site already, the issue here is about getting the detail right and getting the finances from a variety of sources we’ve identified to deliver it.”

Further information about the club’s plans to construct a new training facility on the former golf course site will be available at a public consultation on Saturday, June 16, at Highworth Town Council offices.

Former Swindon Town player Fraser Digby, who was part of the play-off winning team that saw Town promoted to the Premier League in 1993, will be at the consultation while it’s hoped a number of players from the current squad will also be there to answer questions.

Durrant added: “We’ve got the dates of the exhibition and will feedback comments that we receive to advisories like Highworth Town Council.

“We’re conscious of the fact that we’ve been in dialogue with them, which we started in spring last year.

“They specifically asked us to run a consultation event when we had something to show people.

“We had the announcement 12 months ago that we were looking at the site. Feedback, because we want to work with the local community, is important.”