Bitter disappointment

I was bitterly disappointed to read the news about the closure of the Oasis by the operators GLL (‘Better) and Severn Capital.

One can understand that the pandemic has severely hit such facilities but had the Oasis remained in Council ownership, then the prospect for its continuation for the benefit of Swindon residents and those of the surrounding area would have been realistic.

This has not just been caused by the pandemic but by the policies of the current Tory administration with its ideological commitment to privatisation and outsourcing.

Even the right-wing MP for Swindon North, Justin Tomlinson, rightly condemns the closure and calls for SBC to reclaim the Oasis.

It is yet another example of the grandiose partnerships with private operators on which this Council has failed to deliver.

Basically, such well-loved and well-used community facilities must remain in public and accountable ownership.

Swindon Borough Council must recover the ownership and operation of the Oasis and invest in its refurbishment for our future enjoyment.

Tony Mayer

Leader Thamesdown Borough Council 1990/95


Haydon Wick

Happy memories

I was saddened to read of the Oasis' closure. I have fond memories of "last day of the school holidays" trips there when I was a child.

Especially so since my father Denys Hodson was Director of Arts and Recreation for Swindon and Thamesdown from 1970 to 1992 and played a significant role in it's conception and realization.

Indeed when I was about six or seven (1972 ish) my father brought an architect's model of the Oasis to our home in Fairford.

I remember it nestling in the back of his Austin Maxi. He wouldn't bring it in to the house for fear of dropping it.

And I remember his tales of him making the first trip down the red, three-lane slide into the pool at the opening party and the tribulations of the glass-windowed diving pool.

For some legal reason he was never able to install a diving board.

But above all I remember the wave machine.

For 15 minutes every hour (when it wasn't broken) you could be transported to Hawaii - or perhaps Newquay.

RIP Oasis - pioneering public leisure facility and one of my father's signature achievements

Nicholas Hodson

Salt Lake City UT

Poor management

I am sure many readers will recall the words of Chris Symons, the director of development for GLL, who in August 2014 said: “This is something which is really good news for Swindon. He wasreferring to the decision of SBC to hand GLL a 25-year lease on the Oasis. Mr Symons went on to say “We are a charity so we are not here one day and then gone the next, nor are we developers looking to make a quick buck. It is in our DNA to increase the health and accessibility within Swindon.”

It wasn’t long before the truth dawned on Swindon. The inducements paid to GLL were further enhanced by payments said to be necessary to keep open the facilities which GLL managed, one of which was the Health Hydro.

Councillor’s were blindsided when GLL removed the climbing wall, and it appears they have been again with an email telling them GGL do not wish to continue managing the facility.

The Oasis is yet another example of poor management by SBC; who can forget that back in 2012 SBC signed a deal with Moirai Capital Investments which would pay £50,000 in rent with no expectation of SBC contributing to any costs. A mere two years later the deal with Moirai was dead in the water and another suitor was found, the only issue was who would manage the Oasis. Step forward GLL who signed up to a 25 year deal with a 5 year break clause. And guess whatthey invoked the clause. It is surely the responsibility of Seven Capital to whom GLL are returning the lease, to ensure the Oasis remains open for the people of Swindon.

Des Morgan

Caraway Drive