Make a splash on Saturday 19 June 2021 to reopen Swindon’s Oasis Leisure Centre

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:

  1. To keep the Oasis’ plight in the spotlight
  2. To renew calls for its refurbishment and reopening
  3. 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.

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Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale