THE £65m overhaul of the Oasis leisure centre is a step closer after leases between the council and the private developer were signed.

The scheme, which will include the construction of an indoor ski slope, indoor arena and water park will now press ahead after Moirai Capital Investments Limited signed on the dotted line.

Under the plan, the Oasis will be handed over to a private operator on June 1 and be totally refurbished.

Work to breathe new life into the venue will start in the next few months and be completed in a year’s time.

It will include the replacement of the dome and refurbishment of the leisure centre to restore it to its former glory.

A three-month consultation will now begin with Oasis staff as is law when a business is transferred to another company.

The overall leisure scheme is expected to create 1,700 jobs, including approximately 400 full-time and 600 part-time positions, as well as creating several hundred other jobs through construction and ongoing supported activity associated with the development.

It is anticipated the development will be a major boost to the local economy as projections have estimated it will attract up to 4 million visitors a year.

The council has entered into a collaboration agreement with Moirai after granting four long-term leases covering the Oasis and the former Clares site.

If key targets are not met in delivering the new facilities, the council has the right to take back the leases. The council has also agreed that it will receive an income stream for granting the leases.

Under the terms of the agreement, a planning application for a master plan of the former Clares site opposite the Oasis, would be required within two years of the lease being granted. Detailed planning applications would then be submitted for each individual phase.

Moirai have confirmed they have firm interest from potential operators or occupiers for 60 per cent of the site.

Councillor Keith Williams, Swindon Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Corporate Services, said: “The signing of the leases is a major step forward in our plans to turn Swindon into a major leisure destination.

“This leisure scheme is really exciting for the whole town and will really put us on the map. I look forward to seeing the development progressing over the coming months.”

Martin Barber, who is leading the Moirai development, said: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with the council, and to have exchanged contracts. The real work now begins.

“We are ready to press forward enthusiastically with the first phase, the refurbishment of the Oasis Leisure Centre. We have already plans in hand for the replacement of the Dome and the refurbishment of the changing accommodation.

"Over the coming 12 months, we shall be undertaking a significant facelift of the centre to ensure that it returns to a facility of which Swindon can be proud.

“In terms of the further developments on the other areas of the site, we shall shortly be able to make some significant announcements about our proposals to position Swindon as the major leisure and entertainment destination for the south-west.

“All this will be undertaken with consultation with both the council and local residents, and we shall be launching a website to ensure that there is access to information on what is proposed and any opportunity for feedback.

“This development will transform the area, bringing life and activity to derelict sites and providing significant job opportunities. We look forward to Swindon showing the way with such a major regeneration project.”