WORK is soon to start at what is to be Westbury’s new country park, after local developers purchased land near the mothballed Lafarge Cement Works in a £1.5million deal.
In the next few weeks the first phase of development will begin: the construction of an exclusive fishing lake stocked with rare specimens, against which an exclusive few fishermen will pit their wits. This is the first of a raft of ambitious plans that the new landowners hope will create an aspirational destination for holiday makers from across the region.
The 205 acre site has been bought by two local business men; Westbury town councillor Derek Hulin, owner of contracting business Carpleton Ltd, and Shaun May, who owns Transcar based at Storridge Farm in Westbury.
“This is a mammoth challenge to us because we’ve never done anything like this before,” said Derek. “The site has an absolutely cracking potential and it will be great for Westbury. Obviously we are in it to make money, but we’d like Westbury to score off the back of it as well.”
The existing golf club is set for a serious upgrade to a full 18 hole course over the next four years, with a covered driving range expected in the more immediate future.
“We want to make the golf course interesting and a lot more challenging than what they’ve got there now,” said Derek.
This was music to the ears of Chris Bell, chief groundsman and chairman of Westbury Golf Club. He said, “This is terrific. Most good golf courses have between 150 – 170 acres so even with the extra pitches, driving range and fishing lake, there’s plenty of room.
“The guys are of sound minds and they know what their vision is. It’s going to be great to see that vision turned into a reality.”
Chris said he expected the 18 hole course to be on a par with the likes of Erlestoke and Cumberwell and bring far more players to the club.
The golf club is not the only community organisation set to benefit from the developments; for the first time in its history Westbury Rugby Club, of which Derek Hulin is a long term sponsor, will have their own pitch.
The park will also feature nature walks and cycle tracks as well as a general purpose field set aside for fetes and other events.
On a more ambitious scale, the pair plan to install a set of lodges suitable for fishing holidays, a touring van park and ultimately, hope to replace the existing social club with a luxury hotel.
A new website is being set up to keep the community abreast of developments and give the town a chance to have its say on what should be included in the resort.
“We’re happy to take a look at everybody’s suggestions,” said Derek.
Work is likely to be ongoing for the next ten years, creating up to 50 jobs. The roughly square site stretches from the playing fields to the east of the Blue Circle Bar up to Coach Road and south to the Bratton Road.