Swindon Oasis closure inquiry to be held

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image captionThe Oasis comprises a pool, gym and a multi-purpose sports hall

An investigation will be held into why a leisure centre in Swindon closed and how best to re-open it.

Operator GLL said in November the Oasis was "not viable" and it would not re-open after 3 December.

It cited the "enforced closures" during lockdown and the centre's "reduced operating capacity when open".

Swindon Borough Council's scrutiny committee will conduct the probe and Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington is backing a campaign to save the centre.

'Save Oasis Swindon'

While the council owns the land and building, Seven Capital owns a 99-year lease and had employed GLL to run the leisure centre.

By early December, more than 2,000 people had signed a petition calling for the borough council or another company to manage the centre.

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Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington said swimming was a "life skill" as well as being "important for our mental and physical health".

In a video on the Save Oasis Swindon campaign Facebook page, she said: "I'm extremely sorry to hear about Swindon's famous Oasis Leisure Centre being permanently closed due to the impact of Covid.

"Unfortunately this is something I am hearing too often over the past year, [about] how many pools are being shut down.

"I really, really hope the Save Oasis Swindon campaign really, really works because it is so important.

"I would love to hear a story about it being saved rather than shut down as they are so important for the community."

Contracts under scrutiny

Conservative councillor Rahul Tarar, said: "The Oasis centre is an issue that is close to many residents' hearts, and this investigation will be thorough, transparent and provide definitive answers on why it closed.

"We want this work prioritized and I'd like to see the reports by our next meeting on March 1."

Council scrutiny committee chairman and Labour councillor Jim Robbins said: "We think it's important there is an investigation into the contracts first with Morai Capital, then with Seven Capital and GLL.

"We want to find out how we got here, where we are now, and how we move forward."

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, it appeared there could be two separate investigations, but Mr Robbins said having two committees doing the same thing was "a waste of officer time".

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