This is how a newly-revamped Oasis Leisure Centre could look if millions of pounds are found for its refurbishment.
Swindon’s iconic facility closed in November when operator GLL said it could no longer make a profit from running it, while long-term leaseholder Seven Capital says big money needs to be spent if it is to be reopened.
The company is in talks with Swindon Borough Council – which owns the land and used to run the centre until 10 years ago – over a solution after news of the Oasis’ demise sparked widespread dismay across the town.
An application has been made to Historic England to list the 44-year-old building – complete with its famous dome and lagoon pool.
But Seven Capital warned doing so would mean the building could not easily be demolished. The added time and cost to making any substantial changes to its fabric could scupper plans illustrated in a new CGI released today.
A spokesman for Seven Capital said: “We are deeply committed to coming up with a resolution and long-term viable solution for the Oasis.
“We have made good progress and we believe with considerable investment and continued support from Swindon Borough Council we can turn the Oasis into a major leisure attraction once again.”
The spokesman added: “The biggest threat at present to this is the potential for its listing following an application to Historic England. The reason for this is that the centre needs considerable work and investment.
“Should it become listed then, unfortunately, the very thing that intends to save the Oasis will actually become the reason for its permanent demise as it would prevent the necessary works being carried out.”
Council leader David Renard has spoken previously of his opposition to listing the building.
He said: “I would like to assure residents we are doing all we can to give the Oasis a sustainable future because it is an iconic leisure venue and has brought so much joy to local residents and visitors alike over the past four decades.
“However, its age is part of the problem as it needs many millions of pounds spent on it to modernise it and make it viable.”
Coun Renard added: “We have been working closely behind the scenes with Seven Capital, who have a long lease of the Oasis, to come up with a plan to get the leisure centre back open and this CGI image shows how the Oasis could be brought right back up to date and attract people from far and wide into our town.
“All that will be in vain if this listing application is successful.
“We have made joint representations with Seven Capital to Historic England to ensure the modernisation of the Oasis can take place so future generations can continue to enjoy it for many years to come.”
But Labour group leader Jim Grant wants to see more details.
He said: “Where are the investors and operators to run this?
“I’d want to know whether the Oasis when it opens will be affordable to all as it was before it was shut?
“Will it be opened when the pandemic restrictions are lifted? If not, how long will it be closed for. Where’s the detail?”
He added: “We’ve heard all this before about the snow centre – but nothing has happened with that.”
Historic England said it would make no further comment until it has reached a recommendation to make to the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.
The Save Oasis Swindon campaign said it did not want to say whether it wanted the building to be listed or not – but that it hoped the listing process was completed as quickly as possible.