IT’S two years to the day since planning permission was given for a huge £270m snow centre in Swindon.

But in the 24 months since there has been no activity at the cleared Clares factory site in North Star – across the road from the Oasis Leisure Centre.

And there is no indication from developer Seven Capital about when work will start – or whether it will at all.

A spokesman for the company said it was in talks with Swindon Borough Council and couldn’t say anything further.

Council leader David Renard said he had told the company’s bosses how critical the project is for the regeneration of the area.

The complex promises two ski and snowboard slopes, the largest Imax screen in Europe, a bowling alley, shops, cafes bars and restaurants.

When planning permission for the complex was given on November 30, 2018 Conservative cabinet members said the centre would be “a game-changer” for the town’s economy and the regeneration of the North Star area.

Seven Capital is also the landlord of the Oasis and – alongside operator GLL – announced its decision to close it permanently this month.

Coun Renard said: “Myself and cabinet colleagues met with Seven Capital last week to urgently discuss the future of the Oasis and we remain in contact with them to try to find a way forward on this issue.

“Seven Capital has a development agreement and planning permission for the North Star scheme and know what is at stake both in terms of the leisure destination site and now the Oasis. However, clearly this is a very difficult situation for everyone involved.

“We are suffering from the disastrous impact that Covid-19 has had on the leisure industry and GLL’s decision last week to surrender its lease on the Oasis is an unfortunate example of that and something which no one would have predicted at the start of the year.

“I made it clear in our discussion with Seven Capital how important it is that we see signs of regeneration in that area. I can promise residents we are doing everything we can to ensure we see some progress and that Seven Capital finds a new operator for the Oasis.

“We will be having further talks with Seven Capital over the coming weeks and we will update residents as soon as we are able to.”

But some have doubts that the project will now ever get off the ground, including North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson.

He said: “This scheme hasn’t progressed, with little or no expectation Seven Capital can make the sums work.”

When permission was granted Seven Capital said it expected to be on the site for preliminary work in spring of 2019.

That was delayed by a difficulty in getting the necessary investment in the building, which would feature two ski and snowboard slopes, the largest IMAX screen in Europe, a bowling alley, shops, cafes bars and restaurants.

At the time the development company said nervousness over Brexit was one reason causing investors to be wary.

In late 2019 it became apparent the company was still short of £80m needed to begin work – but it was confident and had lined up more companies to take a tenancy in the complex

A year ago KFC and Gravity Active Entertainment, which runs trampoline parks across the country, were confirmed as tenants, joining Hollywood Bowl, Empire Cinemas and outdoor clothing and equipment shop Ellis Brigham.

That was just before the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

Coun Renard confirmed piling work on the project had to be started by a specified date in the agreement between the authority and Seven Capital or the site could revert back to the council’s ownership.

The council will not confirm that date, but it is believed to be by 2024.