THE Oasis Leisure Centre has long been a jewel in the crown of Swindon and is a fine example of how a local authority views the importance of sport, fitness and recreation to the community it serves.

The Oasis has worked in perfect harmony with the Link Centre in West Swindon and all the other smaller facilities dotted about the borough, giving customers a wide choice of facilities at prices most people could afford.

That the current administration had to divest itself of the Oasis is understandable. The unprecedented financial situation Swindon Council faced meant drastic action and the Oasis is now in private hands.

It is to the council’s credit that this wasn’t just a quick sale to get rid of the place – everyone concerned not only wanted the excellent services the Oasis provides to remain, but also for there to be improved facilities too.

Work has started for a major revamp and extension of the building, but there has been growing concern that this is taking place too slowly. It was hoped the replacement of the centre’s dome would have been completed at the end of last year, along with refurbished changing rooms.

Moirai Capital Investments, which holds the lease, stresses there is no need for concern – key dates have been missed, but it didn’t want the Oasis to close during the busy summer months. So, that outstanding work will begin at the end of this year.

We should be encouraged by that news, but at the same time, the council should continue to monitor the situation.