Oasis: slide away... into decrepitude17th June 2021
From small acorns...
A group of us litter picked the grounds around the Oasis over the first four months of this year (blog 1 | blog 2). This came after attending an Acorn Swindon demo to save the Oasis. The grounds were in an appalling state, to our collective shame. Seven Capital, the outsourced company leased the land to supposedly run the Oasis, had clearly not bothered to fulfill their duty to look after it.
We got the Oasis into a good state. We then raised awareness of the problems and made enquiries with the borough council. 2 complaints and many emails later and we finally got a response from the borough council to apologise and tell us that the enquiries would be dealt with. At the time of writing, 3 months later, we are still waiting for those enquiries to be dealt with.
Unfit for purpose
The borough council clearly don't have the capacity they need to function. This is because of the cuts from central government brought about by austerity; a false narrative used to drive forward an agenda of privatisation; to hand money to the rich and disempower the public by destroying democracy. Both the government and council have had the temerity to consistently increase council tax whilst slashing services and deceiving the public.
With the borough council failing to respond, let alone act, Josie Lewis and I approached the parish council. They were equally dismayed by the lack of care for the Oasis and disrespect shown to local people. They wrote to Seven Capital to convey the sitatuation and advise them of their responsibilities to look after the land. With awareness also raised in local and social media, it seemed that there was to be change at the site... or so we thought.;
We went back to the site last week and were dismayed to see that nothing had changed. Bins not emptied and overflowing, rubbish blown into the surrounding woodland. Josie Lewis wrote a scolding letter back to Seven Capital, telling them in no uncertain terms that they should give up their lease because of clear neglect. I contacted the parish council, who shared our dismay but said that they were unable to enforce changes. That is the responsibility of the borough council, who won't even answer queries, let alone be responsible.
Take the power back
So, without representation from the borough council, it has come down to people and local organisations to make the changes necessary to preserve the Oasis for public use. I will be among the speakers at the Save Our Oasis campaign protest at 2pm this Saturday 19th June 2021. I urge you to come along and get involved. Animals, environment and the majority of people are suffering for the greed of a few, enabled by a dysfunctional system. No more!
Blog by Ben Bell