Snow Centre Dream Melts for Swindon
A long planned indoor snow centre for Swindon definitely won’t happen, it has been confirmed, after a decade of “will it, won’t it be built?” uncertainty.
At the project’s most optimistic stage, prior to the pandemic, the leading architects Faulkner Browns had drawn up plans for it and the successful Hemel Hampstead facility, The Snow Centre, lined up to operate it.
The Oasis Centre had been run by a number of private businesses over the last decade, each promising to redevelop existing leisure facilities, which include a swimming pool, as well as build an indoor snow centre, but nothing has been delivered and in the latest proposals the indoor snow centre have been dropped.
The legacy of Covid 19 on visitor numbers and increased energy costs are the official reasons, moving on from Brexit issues as the reasons given for construction not starting back in the late 2010s. Planning permission was granted in 2018 at which point it had a £270m price tag.
Plans being considered by Swindon Council are that the current lease holders of the site, Seven Capital, will be given the exclusive rights to buy it for a minimum £6m once the swimming pool element has been refurbished and re-opened.
Plans for a Swindon snow centre first emerged in 2011, then with a £65m price tag at a time when the site was controlled by a company called Moirai Capital Investment Ltd. The facility will also to include an indoor water park, hotel and 5000 seat concert venue. Planning permission was finally submitted in June 2015 with a possible opening date of 2018 for the facility. Moirai Capital blamed Brexit for a loss of investor confidence in the plans despite claiming to have most of the investment funding in place. The company’s 999 year lease later passed to Severn Capital.
The current proposal the council is considering is to: “Approve the disposal of the Oasis and North Star sites for a minimum value of £6 million subject to satisfactory planning approval being obtained by Seven Capital, the entering into a building contract, the completion of the refurbishment works to the Oasis Centre, and the tenant being secured to operate the Leisure centre.”
Seven Capital’s main business area to date has been the construction of residential property.