Oasis: Architects of Austerity

22nd November 2023

In March this year, we were amongst those to meet with Seven Capital to discuss the Oasis. Seven Capital agreed to keep the Oasis site clean by regularly litter picking, emptying bins, and having weekly waste collections. This happened for a short period only before signs of neglect began resurfacing. Seven Capital claim that they have not breached the lease, which is ludicrous considering the weight of written and photographic evidence.


Josie Lewis and the SOS team both wrote to local MPs to ask whethey they could do anything to help clean up the Oasis site. The government created the conditions for the awful situation at the Oasis through policies which have stripped the public realm of money, power, and resources. Hence we wrote to both local MPs to make these points and to suggest remedies. Neither MP expressed any interest in those. Justin Tomlinson was dishonest:

An automatic response was sent which included the following sentence:

However, this is not true and not how Justin Tomlinson operates, hence we responded:

Having claimed that he didn't respond to south Swindon residents under any circumstances, we noticed that Justin Tomlinson sent an email on the 17th November 2023 to Neil Robinson, co-ordinator of the Save Oasis Swindon (SOS) campaign and resident of south Swindon...

We sent the following response:

Awaiting response...

For sale

The new Labour administraton of the borough council have decided to sell the Oasis and North Star sites to Seven Capital once the Oasis is refurbished and open. We attended a Cabinet Meeting about this on the 15th November. It included public questions. Given the interest in the Oasis, those were fairly extensive.

I asked a couple of questions:

  • Given their track record of dishonesty and breaking the terms of the Oasis leasehold contract, can Seven Capital be trusted? Councillor Kevin Small said that the stipulations, processes and other organisations involved in the deal would ensure that Seven Capital do as agreed.
  • How long are the public going to continue paying for the lies of austerity? Councillor Kevin Small agreed that austerity was key to the dire financial situation for the borough council. Inadequate funding from central government is the main reason that the borough council are considering selling the Oasis rather than restore and run it themselves.

We also attended the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Monday 20th November. I found it a difficult meeting. Members of the former Conservative administration of the borough council scrutinised the new administration about the Oasis. I sat in disgust at the audacity of those Conservative councillors. The former administration entereed into the 99 years lease with Seven Capital. Proposed amendments to that lease could have extended the lease to 999 years. Without intervention from the local community and local Labour Party, what condition would the Oasis have been in? What deal would have been brokered? I dread to think. It took the former administration 4 months to respond to Keep Swindon Tidy re queries we had about the Oasis, and only after complaints were made.

Yet despite all evidence to the contrary, the Conservative Party in Swindon tell you that they care about the Oasis, that they care whether the Domebusters blah blah blah... I left the meeting early because I couldn't listen to any more of that. The awful situation at the Oasis is the legacy of the former administration and of a thoroughly corrupt government. Don't believe their lies! Councils around the country are struggling to provide services because we have been conned by the architects of austerity. This is one of the biggest scams in recent history, the looting of the public sector.