Promises to pay debts were broken

Swindon Council leader David Renard

Swindon Council leader David Renard

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @Michael_Benke

THE company which holds the lease to the Oasis Leisure Centre has said promises to pay debts were broken when they sold a shell company which went bust earlier this year, owing thousands of pounds to local companies.

It has emerged that Oasis Leisure Limited went bankrupt, having changed its name to MW Contract Services after Moirai, who are the leaseholders of the centre sold it, owing more than £850,000.

Much of this money was to local companies which have now been left out of pocket.

A statement from the Moirai board of directors says that when they sold the company for £1 in March 2012, they were told the debts would be settled.

Swindon Council’s Labour group has called for an investigation into the process leading to Moirai being given the deal, something the company has said it would cooperate with.

The statment read: “Oasis Operations Limited was sold at arm’s length to a third party under commercial terms.

“It’s been extremely unfortunate that the promises made by MW Contract Services to settle the outstanding creditors have not been met. We are happy to assist Swindon Council with any investigations relating to this matter.”

When it was given the contract, Moirai said it would refurbish the Oasis, which is now being run on a day-to-day basis by national operator GLL, as well as build an indoor ski slope and indoor arena.

Both of these have been delayed – work on the gym and reception have been completed but the directors say the work is moving forward following successful talks with leisure operators.

“Moirai Capital Investments has secured the long term future of the Oasis Leisure Centre through considerable level of investment on refurbishment works to the centre and by contracting long term operator GLL,” Moirai said.

“The North Star master plan is progressing well with a planning application being prepared for submission and we have secured interest from a number of national leisure operators to the scheme.

“Further to this we have signed heads of terms in place for the indoor ski centre and extreme sport centre facilities. The project is progressing in the right direction and we are confident the residents of Swindon will support our views and vision when they attend the second public consultation.”

Council leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) has said that he is willing to have an investigation into the deal, but has cautioned against scaring off private investors.

He said: “We have nothing to hide so I see no reason why we cannot look into the deal but I feel it will be simply going over old ground.

“However, Moirai are a private company and I think the council has to be careful on how much it interferes. There are some parts of the development which have not progressed as quickly as we would have liked but I think we can give a degree of leeway.

“My big concern is that if we constantly hold investigations into private companies then we will scare away much needed investment at a time when the public sector is short on money. Labour are in danger of depriving Swindon of millions of pounds of investment for political gain.”

Coun Jim Robbins (Lab, Mannington and West), who initially made the call for the investigation, said: “We are still trying to fully understand the complex web of companies that the Moirai group set up to work at the Oasis.

“What I can say is that MW Contract Services Ltd company went bust owing thousands to local companies, and it certainly does not inspire confidence in the Moirai group to deliver on the plans that they have for the Oasis. We want to determine if the council was thorough in the due diligence it carried out to ensure that Moirai were a reputable partner.”

Comments (17)

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6:39am Tue 17 Jun 14

beach1e says...

"There are some parts of the development which have not progressed as quickly as we would have liked but I think we can give a degree of leeway."

that just sums this council up, thinking that inefficiency and not delivering is ok. shocking waste of council taxpayers money. its about time public servants were held accountable and sacked without huge payoffs when falling way short of expectation by the people that pay their wages.
"There are some parts of the development which have not progressed as quickly as we would have liked but I think we can give a degree of leeway." that just sums this council up, thinking that inefficiency and not delivering is ok. shocking waste of council taxpayers money. its about time public servants were held accountable and sacked without huge payoffs when falling way short of expectation by the people that pay their wages. beach1e
  • Score: -1

8:15am Tue 17 Jun 14

Wildwestener says...

beach1e wrote:
"There are some parts of the development which have not progressed as quickly as we would have liked but I think we can give a degree of leeway."

that just sums this council up, thinking that inefficiency and not delivering is ok. shocking waste of council taxpayers money. its about time public servants were held accountable and sacked without huge payoffs when falling way short of expectation by the people that pay their wages.
It's not the staff who make decisions though is it, it's Councillors. You know, the ones who we collectively just re-elected like a bunch of brain-dead sheep.
[quote][p][bold]beach1e[/bold] wrote: "There are some parts of the development which have not progressed as quickly as we would have liked but I think we can give a degree of leeway." that just sums this council up, thinking that inefficiency and not delivering is ok. shocking waste of council taxpayers money. its about time public servants were held accountable and sacked without huge payoffs when falling way short of expectation by the people that pay their wages.[/p][/quote]It's not the staff who make decisions though is it, it's Councillors. You know, the ones who we collectively just re-elected like a bunch of brain-dead sheep. Wildwestener
  • Score: 8

8:31am Tue 17 Jun 14

Captain T says...

“My big concern is that if we constantly hold investigations into private companies then we will scare away much needed investment at a time when the public sector is short on money" So basically we are not allowed to hold anyone to account, either public or private sector bodies? This absolutely smacks of someone who knows the deal is shady and doesn't want the whole thing exposed.

Furthermore, Morai sold off the shell company for a token £1 with a "promise" that debts would be settled. You do not sell off a company for a token amount unless that company has serious underlying financial issues. Otherwise you'd sell it off (hopefully) for a profit. Everyone here is in it together. Morai knew the company couldn't pay its debts, the council didn't carry out any sort of checks into Morai''s credibility or financial status and when the chickens come home to roost, the council don't want an investigation for fear of scaring off private investors. In other words, they'd do exactly the same with the Link Centre et al because they want to make a quick buck in the short term and bu**er what happens 20 years down the line.
“My big concern is that if we constantly hold investigations into private companies then we will scare away much needed investment at a time when the public sector is short on money" So basically we are not allowed to hold anyone to account, either public or private sector bodies? This absolutely smacks of someone who knows the deal is shady and doesn't want the whole thing exposed. Furthermore, Morai sold off the shell company for a token £1 with a "promise" that debts would be settled. You do not sell off a company for a token amount unless that company has serious underlying financial issues. Otherwise you'd sell it off (hopefully) for a profit. Everyone here is in it together. Morai knew the company couldn't pay its debts, the council didn't carry out any sort of checks into Morai''s credibility or financial status and when the chickens come home to roost, the council don't want an investigation for fear of scaring off private investors. In other words, they'd do exactly the same with the Link Centre et al because they want to make a quick buck in the short term and bu**er what happens 20 years down the line. Captain T
  • Score: 0

8:34am Tue 17 Jun 14

Davey Gravey says...

It should never have been sold. The other sites the council are trying to offload should be opposed too.
It should never have been sold. The other sites the council are trying to offload should be opposed too. Davey Gravey
  • Score: -2

9:26am Tue 17 Jun 14

Al Smith says...

Rumours have been flying around about the Oasis since before the council elections last month.

The Adver needs to do more investigative reporting about things like this and if it embarrasses SBC and senior Councillors then so be it. If it causes temporary embarrassment to Swindon then so be it, because in the long run it will prevent far greater harm to the reputation of Swindon.

I've stopped buying the Adver daily and frankly until it starts holding SBC fully accountable for its actions then I have better things to spend 65p on.
Rumours have been flying around about the Oasis since before the council elections last month. The Adver needs to do more investigative reporting about things like this and if it embarrasses SBC and senior Councillors then so be it. If it causes temporary embarrassment to Swindon then so be it, because in the long run it will prevent far greater harm to the reputation of Swindon. I've stopped buying the Adver daily and frankly until it starts holding SBC fully accountable for its actions then I have better things to spend 65p on. Al Smith
  • Score: 0

10:22am Tue 17 Jun 14

Ph1lxx says...

Whatever Moirai say the failing of Oasis Operations was down to one thing and one thing only - they did not have the funds to carry the losses in the first instance until the new development increased revenues and put the business in the black.

That is where the Council failed AGAIN!! Exactly the same failing as they made when giving the second £250,000 to Digital City for the failed Wi-fi project. Due dilligance of the "deal" would take MAJOR account of the purchasers financial ability to see the project through. In the case of Oasis they were a shell Company with no funds. That is what needs a thorough investigation.
Development of the Oasis - great thing for the town. I have some sympathy for Cllr Reynards position in not wanting to scare off business BUT twice the Council have failed to scrutinise major projects - a first year accountancy student would have told you both were doomed. We simply must have a thorough investigation into the Council's actions to establish that they have learned the lessons of their failure BEFORE we give away our leisure centres and golf courses along with a £3 million sweetener.
Whatever Moirai say the failing of Oasis Operations was down to one thing and one thing only - they did not have the funds to carry the losses in the first instance until the new development increased revenues and put the business in the black. That is where the Council failed AGAIN!! Exactly the same failing as they made when giving the second £250,000 to Digital City for the failed Wi-fi project. Due dilligance of the "deal" would take MAJOR account of the purchasers financial ability to see the project through. In the case of Oasis they were a shell Company with no funds. That is what needs a thorough investigation. Development of the Oasis - great thing for the town. I have some sympathy for Cllr Reynards position in not wanting to scare off business BUT twice the Council have failed to scrutinise major projects - a first year accountancy student would have told you both were doomed. We simply must have a thorough investigation into the Council's actions to establish that they have learned the lessons of their failure BEFORE we give away our leisure centres and golf courses along with a £3 million sweetener. Ph1lxx
  • Score: 5

10:40am Tue 17 Jun 14

twasadawf says...

Sure i have a spare £1 in my pocket i might put an offer in
Sure i have a spare £1 in my pocket i might put an offer in twasadawf
  • Score: -2

1:31pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Richard Symonds says...

Where did the INCOME/MONEY go when both Moirai and MW had control? Any idiot can make money without paying bills and then sell up or go bust!!

I invite David Renard to ignore this situation at his peril should he and his Conservative Group ramrod the remaining Privatisation through at next Council..

Call a halt to proceedings NOW and LEARN from your mistakes before you become remembered as the man who 'gave away' Leisure to someone else to profit from without DELIVERING what they promise. Councillors are not RESPONSIBLE for their actions but Businessmen have to live with theirs. Time to bring back surcharging and if we had it we would not be talking about this at all!!!!

To sum it up.

Swindon Borough Council - such 'Nice People to do Business with'.

and

We Got the Council We Deserve as we voted for them!! Maybe next time 'not interested' is not an option and people will seek an alternative but what further damage can this lot do over the next ten months?
Where did the INCOME/MONEY go when both Moirai and MW had control? Any idiot can make money without paying bills and then sell up or go bust!! I invite David Renard to ignore this situation at his peril should he and his Conservative Group ramrod the remaining Privatisation through at next Council.. Call a halt to proceedings NOW and LEARN from your mistakes before you become remembered as the man who 'gave away' Leisure to someone else to profit from without DELIVERING what they promise. Councillors are not RESPONSIBLE for their actions but Businessmen have to live with theirs. Time to bring back surcharging and if we had it we would not be talking about this at all!!!! To sum it up. Swindon Borough Council - such 'Nice People to do Business with'. and We Got the Council We Deserve as we voted for them!! Maybe next time 'not interested' is not an option and people will seek an alternative but what further damage can this lot do over the next ten months? Richard Symonds
  • Score: -3

1:40pm Tue 17 Jun 14

trolley dolley says...

Is it really fair to expect councillors who for the most part are not business men in real life to be able to handle these very large and complex decisions.

What is needed on the council are people of high calibre, with business experience and a real grasp on how modern investing works.

Do we currently have such councillors.

If the answer is NO, then the electorate are to blame for voting for them.
Is it really fair to expect councillors who for the most part are not business men in real life to be able to handle these very large and complex decisions. What is needed on the council are people of high calibre, with business experience and a real grasp on how modern investing works. Do we currently have such councillors. If the answer is NO, then the electorate are to blame for voting for them. trolley dolley
  • Score: 9

2:08pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Wildwestener says...

trolley dolley wrote:
Is it really fair to expect councillors who for the most part are not business men in real life to be able to handle these very large and complex decisions.

What is needed on the council are people of high calibre, with business experience and a real grasp on how modern investing works.

Do we currently have such councillors.

If the answer is NO, then the electorate are to blame for voting for them.
Trouble is, unless you live in London or Scotland, local councillors have very little say or clout so you just don't get the calibre. Even if they did stand, people just vote for the same old candidates for reasons that are beyond me.
It's a definition of madness to keep repeating the same thing (mistakes) and expect different outcomes.
[quote][p][bold]trolley dolley[/bold] wrote: Is it really fair to expect councillors who for the most part are not business men in real life to be able to handle these very large and complex decisions. What is needed on the council are people of high calibre, with business experience and a real grasp on how modern investing works. Do we currently have such councillors. If the answer is NO, then the electorate are to blame for voting for them.[/p][/quote]Trouble is, unless you live in London or Scotland, local councillors have very little say or clout so you just don't get the calibre. Even if they did stand, people just vote for the same old candidates for reasons that are beyond me. It's a definition of madness to keep repeating the same thing (mistakes) and expect different outcomes. Wildwestener
  • Score: -1

2:09pm Tue 17 Jun 14

johndawson says...

you all have yourself to blame as like the Wi-Fi fiasco the council have proved how incompetent they are and you all voted them back in the local elections.
you all have yourself to blame as like the Wi-Fi fiasco the council have proved how incompetent they are and you all voted them back in the local elections. johndawson
  • Score: 1

2:38pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Davey Gravey says...

johndawson wrote:
you all have yourself to blame as like the Wi-Fi fiasco the council have proved how incompetent they are and you all voted them back in the local elections.
No. Some of us didn't. Many in fact.not enough did though.
[quote][p][bold]johndawson[/bold] wrote: you all have yourself to blame as like the Wi-Fi fiasco the council have proved how incompetent they are and you all voted them back in the local elections.[/p][/quote]No. Some of us didn't. Many in fact.not enough did though. Davey Gravey
  • Score: -3

4:22pm Tue 17 Jun 14

FLOGGITLAD says...

1` Wifi fiasco,

2. croft school

3. Oasis.

how long can this lot carry on plundering our money on schemes which are doomed to failure..
1` Wifi fiasco, 2. croft school 3. Oasis. how long can this lot carry on plundering our money on schemes which are doomed to failure.. FLOGGITLAD
  • Score: 1

4:25pm Tue 17 Jun 14

FLOGGITLAD says...

There is no danger of putting possible investors off coming to Swindon, if you go to Junction 1`5, you'll see them in the queue, trying to get a council contract,
that will get them big bucks for nothing in return.. ask the DC chief....
There is no danger of putting possible investors off coming to Swindon, if you go to Junction 1`5, you'll see them in the queue, trying to get a council contract, that will get them big bucks for nothing in return.. ask the DC chief.... FLOGGITLAD
  • Score: -3

8:02pm Tue 17 Jun 14

faatmaan says...

local accountability , highly unlikely, is it time to abolish local councils, they are made up of semi professionals at best, do any of them take the sword when things go wrong, but they quickly disappear off the scene until the fuss dies down, if it was a private individual who had swindled somebody out of large amounts of money no doubt they would be prosecuted, time for the party system to be abolished in local politics and have people elected who are representative of the area they live in and have no political career aspirations.
local accountability , highly unlikely, is it time to abolish local councils, they are made up of semi professionals at best, do any of them take the sword when things go wrong, but they quickly disappear off the scene until the fuss dies down, if it was a private individual who had swindled somebody out of large amounts of money no doubt they would be prosecuted, time for the party system to be abolished in local politics and have people elected who are representative of the area they live in and have no political career aspirations. faatmaan
  • Score: -2

11:03am Wed 18 Jun 14

trolley dolley says...

faatmaan wrote:
local accountability , highly unlikely, is it time to abolish local councils, they are made up of semi professionals at best, do any of them take the sword when things go wrong, but they quickly disappear off the scene until the fuss dies down, if it was a private individual who had swindled somebody out of large amounts of money no doubt they would be prosecuted, time for the party system to be abolished in local politics and have people elected who are representative of the area they live in and have no political career aspirations.
What would be the point of having people on the council whose only qualification is where they live.

You must put people on the council who have the background to be able to understand complex financial issues, not people with the loudest voice and the smallest brain.
[quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: local accountability , highly unlikely, is it time to abolish local councils, they are made up of semi professionals at best, do any of them take the sword when things go wrong, but they quickly disappear off the scene until the fuss dies down, if it was a private individual who had swindled somebody out of large amounts of money no doubt they would be prosecuted, time for the party system to be abolished in local politics and have people elected who are representative of the area they live in and have no political career aspirations.[/p][/quote]What would be the point of having people on the council whose only qualification is where they live. You must put people on the council who have the background to be able to understand complex financial issues, not people with the loudest voice and the smallest brain. trolley dolley
  • Score: 3

4:33pm Wed 18 Jun 14

FLOGGITLAD says...

But Trolley Dolly, that's what we have got, only someone with the smallest of brains would have given DC over 400K for nothing.......
But Trolley Dolly, that's what we have got, only someone with the smallest of brains would have given DC over 400K for nothing....... FLOGGITLAD
  • Score: -1

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