LibDem plan to save Oasis - and create a new one

By Barrie Hudson - 3 March 2021


Swindon's Liberal Democrats have outlined a plan to secure the future of the Oasis.

It includes the eventual building of a New Oasis.
The historic leisure centre is in limbo following the announcement by GLL, the company tasked with running it, that it was no longer viable.
GLL handed the centre back to landlords Seven Capital.
Swindon LibDem leader Cllr Stan Pajak, a former mayor of the town, said: "The policy of putting the Oasis out of council control has been a disaster and is now the subject of an investigation by a Scrutiny committee.
"We support the Campaign to Save the Oasis and would use the council's appointed £5m of borrowing to bring it back into use as soon as possible, whilst we push to build the New Oasis, a revamped sports complex to serve the people of Swindon for generations to come.” 
The party's plan is split into two distinct phases.
A spokesperson said of the first phase: "The council have agreed to take a loan of £5 million, this decision was made at the Budget meeting on the 18th of February 2021.
"According to GLL, to secure the future of a site similar to the Oasis over the course of five years would cost £2 million, however due to the run-down state of the Oasis it is possible more funds would be required.
"Therefore, the Liberal Democrats propose for £1 million of the council’s loan to be made available for the Oasis’ immediate re-opening. 
"Our most vulnerable residents have already gone a year without this essential service. Once the threat of the coronavirus has diminished, they shouldn’t have to go a year longer. This fund of £1m would cover the costs to keep the Oasis open for an immediate two-year tenure."
Turning to the second phase, the spokesperson said: "During the process of the Oasis’ immediate opening, we propose a new leisure centre be built, using the remaining £4 million of the loan as initial capital to begin construction of a centre following the guidelines of Sport England. 
"A number of facilities have been constructed with such a fund, often comprising a pool, gym and fitness studios.
"Extra funds will likely be needed to achieve a facility that includes special considerations for our disabled residents. Therefore these extra funds could be secured via an extra loan, private investors, community fundraising or an appeal to the Sport England Strategic Facilities Fund.
"We’re pushing for a New Oasis because the current one comprises legacy materials and a degrading structure coupled with expensive upkeep. 
"These expenses would vastly outstrip the costs of building a new modern facility. The New Oasis would use modern green techniques to more efficiently keep the pool/pools and surrounding facilities heated and secure. 
"This new facility could support a throughput of over 400,000 visitors a year and would include net income of a conservative estimate of over £200,000 a year, which would recoup initial capital spent in just over 20 years, a fraction of the facility’s potential life span."
According to the party, the New Oasis would take between two and two-and-a-half years to complete, meaning its opening would hopefully coincide with the closure of the current Oasis.

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