Planned 7,500 capacity Oasis venue could be second biggest outside London

Planned 7,500 capacity Oasis venue could be second biggest outside London

The blueprint

Paul Weller is just one of the stars who’ve played at the Oasis

First published in News by

THE second largest purpose-built entertainment arena in southern England could be built in Swindon as part of the redeveloped Oasis Leisure Centre, the Adver can reveal.

Moirai Capital Investments, the developer leading the £65m overhaul, originally planned to build a new 5,000-seater venue at the North Star site. But it has now revealed that contractors are drawing up plans for a 7,500-seater arena, making it the biggest in the south behind London’s 20,000-seat O2 Arena.

Company spokesman Peter Holmes said this was because a national operator, which has not yet been identified, is interested in running the facility and believes Swindon is well-placed to host a larger facility, drawing big audiences and hosting established acts.

Barr Construction, the owner of the London Olympics basketball stadium, and another contractor are working out how to configure the outer shell of the iconic building to make this possible, although no agreement has yet been made over Swindon getting the stadium.

Mr Holmes said that originally about one third of the structure was to be fitted out internally to create a multi-use arena, with the remaining third as a dedicated sports hall, but the new plan was to have the whole building as an arena, with the space sometimes used for sports.

He said: “The potential operator thinks Swindon can fill a larger arena and when you think of it, where are the nearest venues of that type to Swindon?

“There’s the O2 in London, and at the other end it’s basically Cardiff. And going north, you are into Birmingham before you get to anything of that size.

“There’s a huge area of the south of England which hasn’t got an arena of that size. So you can see Swindon as very well-placed.”

The Oasis development is expected to create 1,700 jobs, with the complete refurbishment of the centre and other mooted new facilities including an indoor ski slope, ice climbing wall and a hotel.

The plans will go on display at the centre tomorrow from 1-8pm and on Saturday from 10am-noon and 1-6pm.

Coun Keith Williams, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “It’s going to be one of the great venues. People will come for weekends to see the great acts here and also bring the benefits for the hotels and knock-on benefits for the economy.”

Comments (17)

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8:49am Thu 8 Nov 12

sharanga14@gmail.com says...

Brilliant idea, this is just what Swindon needs, lets just hope it is not just another pie in the sky idea though. Swindon has the habit of knocking back these schemes.
Brilliant idea, this is just what Swindon needs, lets just hope it is not just another pie in the sky idea though. Swindon has the habit of knocking back these schemes. sharanga14@gmail.com
  • Score: 0

9:11am Thu 8 Nov 12

umpcah says...

sharanga14@gmail.com wrote:
Brilliant idea, this is just what Swindon needs, lets just hope it is not just another pie in the sky idea though. Swindon has the habit of knocking back these schemes.
Pie in the sky ? Of course it is ! Swindon will have another six water features before it gets an entertainment arena of that size !
[quote][p][bold]sharanga14@gmail.com[/bold] wrote: Brilliant idea, this is just what Swindon needs, lets just hope it is not just another pie in the sky idea though. Swindon has the habit of knocking back these schemes.[/p][/quote]Pie in the sky ? Of course it is ! Swindon will have another six water features before it gets an entertainment arena of that size ! umpcah
  • Score: 0

9:15am Thu 8 Nov 12

Summerof69 says...

sharanga14@gmail.com wrote:
Brilliant idea, this is just what Swindon needs, lets just hope it is not just another pie in the sky idea though. Swindon has the habit of knocking back these schemes.
"Could", "interested", "no agreement", "potential" ..... end result .... no story, pure speculation
[quote][p][bold]sharanga14@gmail.com[/bold] wrote: Brilliant idea, this is just what Swindon needs, lets just hope it is not just another pie in the sky idea though. Swindon has the habit of knocking back these schemes.[/p][/quote]"Could", "interested", "no agreement", "potential" ..... end result .... no story, pure speculation Summerof69
  • Score: 0

9:31am Thu 8 Nov 12

I 2 Could B says...

Wembley Arena is bigger, Exeter's Westpoint Arena is also 7,500 capacity, as is Motorpoint Arena Cardiff.

With that being the case, I really do hope that a 'national operator' will be behind Swindon's new venue as, otherwise, we'll see the same thing happen as has happened with MECA - the venue is the wrong size and there is no way for the owners to actually secure the right bands to play there.

MECA, had it been operated by AMG, would have been a phenomenal success and a huge asset to Swindon. Alas, that was not to be.

Hopefully the new venue will also allow multiple capacity configurations, as the number of touring acts that have a 7,500cap venue as their market place is very, very small. Even very well known bands can struggle to fill the Hammersmith Apollo (8,000cap) and that's in London. Most touring bands tend to hit the 800 to 2,000cap venues.

Still, this is potential great news for Swindon, especially if AMG are involved. Hopefully the new venue will be in place and open by the time the old college development is complete.
Wembley Arena is bigger, Exeter's Westpoint Arena is also 7,500 capacity, as is Motorpoint Arena Cardiff. [p] With that being the case, I really do hope that a 'national operator' will be behind Swindon's new venue as, otherwise, we'll see the same thing happen as has happened with MECA - the venue is the wrong size and there is no way for the owners to actually secure the right bands to play there. [p] MECA, had it been operated by AMG, would have been a phenomenal success and a huge asset to Swindon. Alas, that was not to be. [p] Hopefully the new venue will also allow multiple capacity configurations, as the number of touring acts that have a 7,500cap venue as their market place is very, very small. Even very well known bands can struggle to fill the Hammersmith Apollo (8,000cap) and that's in London. Most touring bands tend to hit the 800 to 2,000cap venues. [p] Still, this is potential great news for Swindon, especially if AMG are involved. Hopefully the new venue will be in place and open by the time the old college development is complete. I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

9:31am Thu 8 Nov 12

Al Smith says...

Swindon is a good location and the Oasis is fairly easy to get to. Bristol, Reading, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Oxford all within an hours drive (or train journey).

Most importantly Bristol doesn't have such an arena. So if this plan is to succeed building work has to start almost immediately to get a head start over Bristol.
Swindon is a good location and the Oasis is fairly easy to get to. Bristol, Reading, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Oxford all within an hours drive (or train journey). Most importantly Bristol doesn't have such an arena. So if this plan is to succeed building work has to start almost immediately to get a head start over Bristol. Al Smith
  • Score: 0

10:35am Thu 8 Nov 12

stu2010 says...

They'll probably turn it into a bingo hall
They'll probably turn it into a bingo hall stu2010
  • Score: 0

10:52am Thu 8 Nov 12

musicguru says...

Coun Keith Williams, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “It’s going to be one of the great venues.

Just don't let the council get involved. They own the MECA, a decent size venue which instead of working with tried and tested promotional agents and entertainment management companies decided to give the place to their mates, a comic shop owner and a failed club owner.

I really hope this becomes everything it sets out to be.
Coun Keith Williams, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “It’s going to be one of the great venues. Just don't let the council get involved. They own the MECA, a decent size venue which instead of working with tried and tested promotional agents and entertainment management companies decided to give the place to their mates, a comic shop owner and a failed club owner. I really hope this becomes everything it sets out to be. musicguru
  • Score: 0

11:15am Thu 8 Nov 12

Davey Gravey says...

Looks promising. Crack on with it!
Looks promising. Crack on with it! Davey Gravey
  • Score: 0

11:33am Thu 8 Nov 12

Al Smith says...

musicguru wrote:
Coun Keith Williams, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “It’s going to be one of the great venues.

Just don't let the council get involved. They own the MECA, a decent size venue which instead of working with tried and tested promotional agents and entertainment management companies decided to give the place to their mates, a comic shop owner and a failed club owner.

I really hope this becomes everything it sets out to be.
SBC problem is that they always seem to give stuff to their less than competent mates (freemasonry???).

I bet tricky Rikki told SBC that he'd set-up a WiFi router in his house and it was really easy and it only cost £20 so for £400,000 loan he could do the whole of Swindon.

That said the people behind the Oasis plans do have a successful track record - so fingers crossed.
[quote][p][bold]musicguru[/bold] wrote: Coun Keith Williams, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “It’s going to be one of the great venues. Just don't let the council get involved. They own the MECA, a decent size venue which instead of working with tried and tested promotional agents and entertainment management companies decided to give the place to their mates, a comic shop owner and a failed club owner. I really hope this becomes everything it sets out to be.[/p][/quote]SBC problem is that they always seem to give stuff to their less than competent mates (freemasonry???). I bet tricky Rikki told SBC that he'd set-up a WiFi router in his house and it was really easy and it only cost £20 so for £400,000 loan he could do the whole of Swindon. That said the people behind the Oasis plans do have a successful track record - so fingers crossed. Al Smith
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Highworth Lad says...

Summerof69 wrote:
sharanga14@gmail.com wrote: Brilliant idea, this is just what Swindon needs, lets just hope it is not just another pie in the sky idea though. Swindon has the habit of knocking back these schemes.
"Could", "interested", "no agreement", "potential" ..... end result .... no story, pure speculation
Agreed - BLAH BLAH BLAH - Same ol SBC and Adver, dont belive anything untill they start building
[quote][p][bold]Summerof69[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sharanga14@gmail.com[/bold] wrote: Brilliant idea, this is just what Swindon needs, lets just hope it is not just another pie in the sky idea though. Swindon has the habit of knocking back these schemes.[/p][/quote]"Could", "interested", "no agreement", "potential" ..... end result .... no story, pure speculation[/p][/quote]Agreed - BLAH BLAH BLAH - Same ol SBC and Adver, dont belive anything untill they start building Highworth Lad
  • Score: 0

5:48pm Thu 8 Nov 12

itsamess3 says...

In the original story the new arena was reliant on a successful for the seating and equipment from an olympic venue.
No decision has yet been reached on that--what happens if they fail in that bid?
In the original story the new arena was reliant on a successful for the seating and equipment from an olympic venue. No decision has yet been reached on that--what happens if they fail in that bid? itsamess3
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Jeremy Hilary Boob says...

I don't know who is worse - the Adver for printing this nonsense or the council for coming out with it - the story is credited to the Adver's political reporter, so I assume SBC are the source, presumably in a desperate attempt to convince us something is being done in the town.

Are we genuinely supposed to believe that Swindon can host the second biggest venue in the south of England outside of London? It's all well and good pointing to the cities within an hour's drive, but most of these are also within an hour's drive of Birmingham, London and Cardiff. If you can go to those places, why would you want to come to a dump like Swindon?

On top of that, the parking and traffic for the existing gigs at the Oasis are a nightmare, so god knows what it will be like with an extra 5,000 people trying to get in and out.

A 3,000 capacity venue might have got built, but this is typical Swindon pie-in-the nonsense, full of "could be" and "maybe" lines. The result will probably be the usual "won't be."

Oh, and Adver bods - the "O3" headline only works if there an O1 and O2, which there aren't. It just makes your front page look stupid.
I don't know who is worse - the Adver for printing this nonsense or the council for coming out with it - the story is credited to the Adver's political reporter, so I assume SBC are the source, presumably in a desperate attempt to convince us something is being done in the town. Are we genuinely supposed to believe that Swindon can host the second biggest venue in the south of England outside of London? It's all well and good pointing to the cities within an hour's drive, but most of these are also within an hour's drive of Birmingham, London and Cardiff. If you can go to those places, why would you want to come to a dump like Swindon? On top of that, the parking and traffic for the existing gigs at the Oasis are a nightmare, so god knows what it will be like with an extra 5,000 people trying to get in and out. A 3,000 capacity venue might have got built, but this is typical Swindon pie-in-the nonsense, full of "could be" and "maybe" lines. The result will probably be the usual "won't be." Oh, and Adver bods - the "O3" headline only works if there an O1 and O2, which there aren't. It just makes your front page look stupid. Jeremy Hilary Boob
  • Score: 0

10:55pm Thu 8 Nov 12

sprouty70 says...

I'm still looking forward to the Casino at the County Ground............. :)
I'm still looking forward to the Casino at the County Ground............. :) sprouty70
  • Score: 0

11:13pm Thu 8 Nov 12

wiltshiregal says...

Could be great! Just need to make sure that the parking etc is sorted.
Could be great! Just need to make sure that the parking etc is sorted. wiltshiregal
  • Score: 0

11:18pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Jeremy Hilary Boob says...

itsamess3 wrote:
In the original story the new arena was reliant on a successful for the seating and equipment from an olympic venue.
No decision has yet been reached on that--what happens if they fail in that bid?
They also said 6-7,000 capacity - it's in the silly masterplan. No idea why the council and the Adver are not claiming the original plan was for 5,000.
[quote][p][bold]itsamess3[/bold] wrote: In the original story the new arena was reliant on a successful for the seating and equipment from an olympic venue. No decision has yet been reached on that--what happens if they fail in that bid?[/p][/quote]They also said 6-7,000 capacity - it's in the silly masterplan. No idea why the council and the Adver are not claiming the original plan was for 5,000. Jeremy Hilary Boob
  • Score: 0

8:22am Fri 9 Nov 12

I 2 Could B says...

Jeremy Hilary Boob says:
It's all well and good pointing to the cities within an hour's drive, but most of these are also within an hour's drive of Birmingham, London and Cardiff. If you can go to those places, why would you want to come to a dump like Swindon?

While, ordinarily, I would see your point, it's fair to say that most Academy venues are in less than salubrious areas of their respective towns and cities and the larger UK arenas are either in the middle of nowhere or dump areas (Wembley Arena being a prime example).

In fact, this is one area where Swindon could work well. People don't go to live events in the evening to take in the local scenery, go shopping etc. They generally tend to travel to the venue, watch the show and then go straight home. In that regard, Swindon is very well suited to a large venue...
[quote][b]Jeremy Hilary Boob says:[/b] It's all well and good pointing to the cities within an hour's drive, but most of these are also within an hour's drive of Birmingham, London and Cardiff. If you can go to those places, why would you want to come to a dump like Swindon? [/quote] While, ordinarily, I would see your point, it's fair to say that most Academy venues are in less than salubrious areas of their respective towns and cities and the larger UK arenas are either in the middle of nowhere or dump areas (Wembley Arena being a prime example). [p] In fact, this is one area where Swindon could work well. People don't go to live events in the evening to take in the local scenery, go shopping etc. They generally tend to travel to the venue, watch the show and then go straight home. In that regard, Swindon is very well suited to a large venue... I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Fri 9 Nov 12

Jeremy Hilary Boob says...

I actually agree with you. I think the council are kidding themselves if they think many people tend to "make a weekend" out of concerts. But for those who do, Birmingham, London or Cardiff would seem a better bet than Swindon.

This just seems too big. It's alright being configurable as a smaller venue, but if it's always being configured smaller then you might as well just save the money and build it smaller in the first place. Is Swindon really going to attract many people playing to 7,500 people - it's never going to displace London or Birmingham (and probably even Cardiff, since it's a long way from West Wales to Swindon) for really big name acts.

It's alright the council going on about the catchment area, but it's easier to add an extra night in London or Cardiff than it is to play a one-off in Swindon as well - no need to strike/set-up the sets and no extra travelling.

Swindon needs a concert venue, but the council should focus on getting one that will actually be built rather than their usual dreams that never turns into reality.

Is it a coincidence that this story has resurfaced in the same week that every Bristol mayoral candidate has been on Points West promising an arena?
I actually agree with you. I think the council are kidding themselves if they think many people tend to "make a weekend" out of concerts. But for those who do, Birmingham, London or Cardiff would seem a better bet than Swindon. This just seems too big. It's alright being configurable as a smaller venue, but if it's always being configured smaller then you might as well just save the money and build it smaller in the first place. Is Swindon really going to attract many people playing to 7,500 people - it's never going to displace London or Birmingham (and probably even Cardiff, since it's a long way from West Wales to Swindon) for really big name acts. It's alright the council going on about the catchment area, but it's easier to add an extra night in London or Cardiff than it is to play a one-off in Swindon as well - no need to strike/set-up the sets and no extra travelling. Swindon needs a concert venue, but the council should focus on getting one that will actually be built rather than their usual dreams that never turns into reality. Is it a coincidence that this story has resurfaced in the same week that every Bristol mayoral candidate has been on Points West promising an arena? Jeremy Hilary Boob
  • Score: 0

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