LES Durrant, the man tasked with steering through Swindon Town’s plans for the development of their proposed new training ground, is hoping to garner funding and public support before setting out concrete plans for the site.
The group managing director of DPDS, a Swindon-based planning consultancy firm who have a long-established relationship with the football club over the last 30 years, led discussions with Highworth Town Council on Tuesday night to lay out the bare bones of their proposal for the project at Twelve Oaks Golf Club.
While no formal process has begun at this stage, Durrant knows the importance of getting public support for such a project and says that Tuesday’s meeting is a positive move for everyone involved.
“The timing is coincidental, with it coming up to the end of the season,” he told the Adver.
“We need to get this information out there and hopefully the prospect of anything improving for the football club has got to be good news.
“What we have really got to do is work on how to bring this to fruition.
“The club have said 24 months and I don’t think that is a target set in stone, we’d love for it to be 12 months if we could but I suspect that would be overly ambitious.
“We want to be able to deliver the facility and so does the club.
“We’ve said to local people, we know what we’d like to have, but we have got to make sure that we can afford to deliver it otherwise we’ll have to scale the thing back to something that is achievable and that is yet to be decided.
“It’s one of those things that will go on for months until we get to a definitive proposal.
“That’s what I am hoping to do, to get a dialogue going and get people behind the club.
“It’s about Swindon Town Football Club and providing the modern infrastructure for that club to take steps forward.
“This is a positive opportunity and we want to move it forward as best we can.”
Having seen little movement at the Twelve Oaks site since chairman Lee Power’s acquisition in November 2015, rumours had started spreading that the site was not suitable, with drainage being cited as a concern.
However, Durrant has moved to quash any fears and whilst admitting the project will have its challenges, he does not foresee anything at this stage that will prevent them delivery high quality pitches for the club.
“I think the site is eminently suitable,” he added.
“There are always issues and there would be quite a lot of earth work.
“One of the things we are looking at is a 4G floodlit pitch and that is an engineering operation that you construct and the rest of the pitches would be grass and there is a lot of work and preparation that would need to go into that.
“You’d have that if you bought a farmer’s field. There is a lot of groundwork that goes in to providing pitches that drain properly and if you don’t prepare the pitch properly, you play on it once and it is out of action for a long time.
“We want to be able to create pitches of the right sort of quality and make sure that it is something that is genuinely fit for purpose.”