New Oasis Plans Submitted – It’s fantastic to hear that a planning application is at last submitted to restore the iconic grade II listed Oasis dome and pool.
This is what we’ve been campaigning for from the very beginning. It’s been a long road so far. Despite the constant negativity from some Conservative councillors at Swindon Borough Council and from Seven Capital, we always knew that the Oasis deserved its listed status.
We were also convinced that it was possible to retrofit the current building and make it energy efficient using solar energies to heat the pool and to power the wave machine. These new plans look like what we envisaged all along.
View the plans here:
https://pa1.swindon.gov.uk/publicaccess/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=RJA9NFPTKH100 – using reference number S/LBC/22/1472
For some history of the Oasis go here: https://www.saveoasisswindon.co.uk/history/
EFTE panels and the campaign’s research
EFTE material is what the Eden project used. It’s a good idea to cover the existing dome. That will make it cheaper to run and will look exactly the same inside.
Almost two years since its closure, we’ve had to deal with demolition and de-listing threats. Also false claims that the Oasis was not viable or fixable. Now they seem to have accepted the listing and are looking in the right direction. This is positive and exciting for Swindon. If only these Conservative Councillors had taken this view from the beginning, the restoration work would have been underway.
Having done the research ourselves, we always knew the technology was there to save the Oasis. It only needed a bit of will power and imagination. We do support this new planning application and hope that work can start soon. BUT, people must be aware that these new plans do not include a rebuilt sports hall/music venue. There’ll be a gym in a rebuilt entrance area, but no sizeable sports hall – only two football pitches in place of the sports hall instead. This is a bit disappointing – but saving the pool and dome has always been the main priority for us. People have told us it’s a worthy sacrifice as the pool and dome is the important part. That said some have expressed disappointment.
Some people have told us that SBC and Seven Capital are missing a massive trick with the Oasis, given its music history and connection to the band Oasis themselves. We think there’s a lot more potential for the Oasis site than cramming as many houses as possible around it. The sheer volume of houses they want to build means building them on the old BMX track, existing football pitches and even in parts of the existing car park.
The reality is that Seven Capital don’t want to build a new music venue so close to their new houses. New football pitches can be easy to build on later down the line.
Absence of engagement
The lack of public engagement from SBC means they’ve asked no-one what they want at the Oasis site, regarding types of sport and level of facilities. Nor even whether there should be a new music venue built at the Oasis.
SBC have received recent criticism for lack of public engagement, so this is comes as no surprise. It seems that SBC have made up their minds that they want the music venue to move to the proposed cultural quarter, in about ten years’ time. But there’s no guarantee of funding for this yet.
Have your say
We’re delighted with the Oasis pool and dome plans. But if people want more leisure facilities at the Oasis, or even a return of a music venue, then they need to speak up to the Council.
We’ll leave it up to the people of Swindon to have their say on the ‘dry side’ of the Oasis. It’s a tricky situation though, because if we stall with these plans then the Oasis restoration may take even longer. We may have to accept that the sports hall and music venue is never coming back to the Oasis.
But saving the existing pool and dome is a massive achievement for the Save Oasis Campaign and for Swindon.
Concerns about the new Oasis plans submitted
Looking at the wider site plan they’ve drawn the site boundary in such a way as to exclude all the car parking spaces. So, are they keeping what exists? I think it’s important to see if there’s a site plan showing the residential proposals.
And the plans are from the same architects as before who have neither water-based leisure nor heritage/conservation experience.
Questions we’ve put to SevenCapital
- There’s been much talk about the financial viability of reopening the Oasis. So, is this a financially viable plan? And if so, why has 7C not considered using this material before?
- This planning application is essentially to get approval on approach for the use of the new material on the dome. What happens if this approval is not granted?
- Why was there talk of 7C/SBC putting in an application to delist the Oasis if these plans were presumably being drawn up?
- Does 7C envisage there being issues in terms of its plans for the dome when it comes to the building’s listed status?
- If the plan is given approval, what are the next steps and is there a timetable of what things might happen when?
- If all goes well how long will it until work starts? And when is 7C looking at officially reopening the building?
Watch this space for any answers to that lot.
In the Swindon Advertiser
Comment from the Labour Group
Being as how the Swindon Advertiser articles feature comments from Cllr Renard and Cllr Heenan, what follows is a response to the plans from the Labour group. For the comments of Cllr Heenan referred to by the Labour group, see the blue box below and the Swindon Advertiser articles linked to above.
‘The Labour Group are most pleased to see new plans submitted and will be reviewing them with great interest. We disagree with Cllr Heenan* that this is the only hope and the last chance for the Oasis. That sort of hyperbole and panic helps no-one and is simply another example of the Conservative’s inability to do proper consultation.
The council has jumped into plans with both feet and without looking before, and it’s always backfired. Let’s take a proper look at the plans and do some wide consultation to make sure that we’re making a sensible decision in line with planning law and in the interests of the people of Swindon.
We’re desperate to see the Oasis reopened and full of Swindonians enjoying it again.
Further, we’re keen to undo the problems caused by the Conservatives offloading the town’s leisure assets. We’ll be working to engage with all residents to understand what leisure facilities we need to be developing for the future.
*Cllr Heenan in the Adver
“The council MUST give their approval otherwise there is no hope for the Oasis Leisure Centre. Change must not be stopped.
“The Oasis is [at the] end of [its] life after 50 years and design problems [have been] known since 1979.
“The pool is listed, it cannot be altered. Anyone objecting will be in denial of the scale of the challenge. It will stay empty.”