It is clear to us that neither the Conservatives nor Labour have a long-term strategy to Save the Oasis and bring adequate modern leisure facilities to the residents of Swindon. Councillor Stan Pajak supported an amendment to the budgetary session on the 18th of February that would have ring fenced the £5 million loan the council has taken specifically for the Oasis; the amendment however was defeated. Therefore, in the interest of our town we have developed a plan that fully utilises those funds and makes way for a brighter, greener and more prosperous Swindon for all residents.
This plan is split into two distinct but equally important phases.
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 5 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.
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 Sport England Strategic Facilities Fund - Investors could easily be found in response to the Chancellors 'Super Deductions' scheme. Any business choosing to invest would effectively be being paid by the treasury to do so.
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 recuperate initial capital spent in just over 20 years, a fraction of the facility’s potential life span.
The New Oasis would take between 2 and 2 ½ years to complete therefore it’s opening would hopefully coincide with the closure of the Old Oasis ensuring no resident is without leisure facilities.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Swindon, Stan Pajak says: “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 Councils 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.”