For more information, please see the Swindon Area Weekly News on the Penny Post website.
21 October 2021 update
The Save the Oasis campaign is planning an exhibition in the Hub about the Oasis and the campaign.
The campaign has a website – click here to visit it.
1 July 2021 update
Campaigners report that “after pleading for seven months”, the Oasis has finally become a bit more secure with metal sheeting. Hopefully this will protect it from further damage by vandals. “It is a shame it took this long,” a SaveOasis spokesperson said, “but maybe they know the building is on its way to becoming a listed.” Families are understandably upset by the loss of this long-loved sport and recreation facility. Follow the campaing on twitter at @SaveOasis and on the Save the Oasis’ FB page.
The good and breaking news is there seems to have been a breakthrough. As Born-again Swindonianreports, “Damien Siviter, part of executive team SevenCapital [to whom the Oasis has been leased] recently contacted the campaign requesting a meeting. On Wednesday 30 June two campaign representatives, Tony Hillier and Neil Robinson, headed to the Park Lane, London offices of the development company.” The ultimate upshot of what seems to have been a “fruitful” discussion is a three-way media release between the SOS campaign, Swindon Borough Council and SevenCapital. Much that was discussed must remain confidential but the campaigners new feel that “it seems that SevenCapital never had any intention of removing the leisure facilities from that site.” Born-again Swindonian goes on to say that “the important point is that channels of communication are now open,” something that seemed unlikely even a couple of weeks ago. For more information and to read the press release, please click here.
24 June 2021 update
The Save the Oasis campaign group organised a family rally/protest in support of the campaign last week (see below). Around 75 people came including many families (see here for photos). Several people spoke at the event including campaign coordinator Neil Robinson, Born Again Swindonian Angela Atkinson and Helena Williams Bowie who spoke about its importance as an inclusive venue and raised some important points about the needs of the disabled community. Tony Hillier, Swindon community poet and seasoned campaigner licked us all into shape and MC-ed the thing. There was music (from Jol Rose) and poetry (from Owen Collins).
With support from community union, Acorn, the campaigners have written an open letter to Seven Capital in the hope this, unlike previous communications, produces a response.
14 June 2021 update
The following statement was received from the Save Oasis Swindon on 14 June 2121.
Residents of Swindon and beyond will gather outside the Oasis Leisure Centre at 2pm on Saturday 19 June 2021 in a rallying cry for the survival of the iconic dome and the particular facilities it offers. They’re sending out an SOS.
Organised by campaign group Save Oasis Swindon, the aim of the protest/rally is threefold:
- To keep the Oasis’ plight in the spotlight
- To renew calls for its refurbishment and reopening
- To remind both Seven Capital and Swindon Borough Council that between them they are failing to meet either civic, moral or legal obligations to this building. And, alongside that, to remind Swindonians that the roots of this sorry saga lie in SBC’s giving to Seven Capital a 90yr lease, minus a take-back clause, on a building already with a back-log of maintenance built up under their watch.
The Oasis Leisure Centre closed in November 2020, after GLL surrendered its lease on the building. Since its closure seven months ago, the building has sat in an idle limbo and its future left in doubt. A listing decision by Historic England is imminent, yet the building remains both un-maintained and subjected to numerous break-ins and vandalism by self-styled ‘urban explorers’. There is also concern that Seven Capital wants to demolish the landmark dome.
A spokesman for the campaign said: “We feel that the campaign to save the Oasis is at a crucial stage now. And we must keep up the pressure on both Swindon Borough Council and Seven Capital to refurbish and reopen the Oasis, regardless of it being listed or not. We fear that if we don’t they’ll simply do nothing.
“The people of Swindon will not quietly accept the demolition of our famous landmark. The Oasis is a place that our children and our families heavily used and enjoyed. We must stand up and be counted if we want to preserve it for our future generations. The Oasis is a vitally important asset for our town. One that we cannot afford to lose. It’s so much more than a fun swimming pool. It’s served Swindon well as a music and events venue.
“It also looms large in Swindon’s tourist offering. Surely an architecturally important and culturally significant facility like this should be integral to Swindon’s offering as a place where you’d want to live, play, work and do business? Not side-lined and threatened with demolition. We want the Council to grasp that Swindon wants the Oasis refurbished and made viable in its current form. We want the Oasis – not the North Star leisure centre.
“Our Facebook campaign grows steadily. People are extremely angry and distressed at the images and videos of people breaking into the Oasis and damaging it. We call upon the Council leader to do what’s right for Swindon before it’s too late.
“We urge everyone to come down to the front of the Oasis, between 2.00 and 3.30pm on Saturday 19 June. It would be fantastic to have a great turnout to as a visible message to the Council that the people of Swindon have had enough and want the Oasis saved.”
The protest has the support of local campaign group ACORN.
People attending the protest are encouraged to have a bit of fun and bring down homemade banners, flags and placards along with pool inflatables, swimwear and sportswear to celebrate and honour the family fun enjoyed in the Oasis for since the mid-1970s.
The photo at the top of the post was taken in December 2020.