Oasis: neglect26th July 2021
Agreement to look after the grounds
Most council leasehold contracts contain a stipulation to properly maintain buildings and grounds. We have asked Swindon Borough Council for copies of the lease. It has taken a week short of 4 months and several complaints to finally get a response from the relevant department. They state:
The lease between 'Swindon Borough Council' and 'Seven Capital (Swindon) Limited' stipulates that the tenant shall keep "any landscaped areas of the Property reasonably well tended".
Has this happened? The images below were taken on the 21st July 2021.
Seven Capital have not been emptying the bins, providing adequate facilites for litter, or maintaining the skate park, buildings and surrounding environment. This despite correspondence with them from the local parish council, Acorn Swindon, Josie Lewis, and the borough council informing them of the situation and their responsibilities.
The photos below show an open manhole on the ground with a drop of around 6 feet. It is not easy to see amidst the long grass. A person or animal could be seriously injured. With due diligence, this would not have been left like this. We informed Swindon Borough Council but, at the time of writing, are still waiting for a response. The parish council has responded to try and help immediately even though this area is not their responsibility. We have asked the borough council for full details of the lease. Given clear neglect, contravention of the terms of the lease and disregard for the local community, we have asked that Seven Capital forfeit the lease.
If you look at the entrance to the Oasis, there is some promotional guff about public-private partnerships. Such partnerships clearly do not serve the public's best interests as we have found out at the Oasis. Local communities have had to step in to deal with issues. Yet, until now, Swindon Borough Council have blamed the public rather than take any responsibility. Time and again, its' someone else's fault, apparently. What do we pay council tax for? For our public services and assets to be sold off? I grew up in an area with a council doing similar things. Public leisure centres were closed and public land sold off for private housing. How do such actions by supposedly public servants serve the public? Is this not fraud and theft? Councils are supposed to be custodians of public land, not pass it to private hands.
It's clearly not just the borough council and Seven Capital at fault here, it's also us, the public. A lack of responsibility seems to permeate society. We seem to feel that we are not responsible if we act in large numbers. No, each of our actions is important. If we can collectively create a problem, we can collectively work to solve it. How many of us take respnsibility and act? Thankfully some of us do. The images below are of makeshift bins which have been put in place by some users of the skate park. Thank you to those considerate people. We are working with Central North Swindon Parish Council to provide adequate bins and waste collection at and around the site. Thanks to them for being so receptive and helpful. Care / positive action to bring positive results.
See our other blogs on the Oasis.
Update: This series of blogs on the Oasis has been covered by the Swindon Advertiser.
Blog by Ben Bell