SWINDON Borough Council is launching an £8 million bid to help reopen the Oasis leisure centre.

The local authority has turned to the government after landlord SevenCapital said the cost of reopening the iconic facility was unviable.

It has confirmed it will submit a bid for the money to the government's Levelling Up Fund. 

Plans for a new leisure centre at North Star were submitted by the SevenCapital last year, but were scuppered when the swimming pool dome - something it wanted to replace - was granted Grade II listed status.

SevenCapital has been looking into ways to reopen the building and keep the dome since then, but in May it announced that the costs of doing so were simply too great and would be for 'anyone'.

After that, the council said it remains committed to helping the company refurbish the popular site.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland and building preservation specialists The Twentieth Century Society also offered their support. 

The council is hoping that the opportunity provided by the next round of the Levelling Up Fund will address what has been called a 'huge viability gap' in the cost of refurbishing the building but that even if the bid is successful.

But it will still not be enough on its own due to the scale of the works that are required.

Council leader David Renard said: “We have always maintained that reopening the Oasis is a priority for the council and we have been in talks with SevenCapital to discuss ways this can be made possible.

“The listing of the dome and swimming pool has made that process extremely difficult as large parts of the original fabric need to be retained.

“Naturally, that has added considerable cost to the whole project and has made it much more complicated to add in the energy-saving measures which will make the facility more environmentally friendly.

“There are no guarantees we will be successful in our funding bid to the Government and we have to carry out a huge amount of due diligence with SevenCapital on its proposals before we can begin to take things forward. But we have to do what we can to give us a fighting chance of getting this important landmark back open for local people to enjoy.”

The council is also planning to submit a similar bid to the Levelling Up Fund for the second phase of restoration work to the Health Hydro. Both bids need to be submitted next month.