The future of the Oasis has sparked much debate this week after Seven Capital shared a computer-generated image of what the leisure centre could look like under major plans that are being finalised.

The reaction to the image has been mixed, with campaigners who want the facility kept in its current form vehemently opposed to the changes that will bring the Oasis back up to modern standards.

There are others though who have welcomed the prospect of having a brand-new leisure centre, which would act as a huge draw to families here and beyond.

It will come as no surprise to you that I am in the latter camp because I have listened intently to what GLL and Seven Capital have told me privately, and in last month’s scrutiny committee, that the Oasis in its current form has no future.

A major part of this is due to the centre’s ‘iconic’ dome which is frankly at the end if its life. Seven Capital has spent a considerable amount of money over the last few years trying to upgrade the dome but even after all that investment it still leaks and costs a huge amount of money to keep it at the required temperature. It is hugely energy inefficient, which is at odds with our ambition to make the borough carbon neutral in the years to come.

We have an opportunity to create a new environmentally friendly building that the current generation of young children and families can enjoy – and the generations after them.

I for one, will be keeping my fingers crossed Historic England does not grant it listed status because it is time to give the Oasis a new lease of life and many more families treasured memories.

One of the positive things about the Oasis situation is that we have a major company in the shape of Seven Capital willing to invest in Swindon and its future.

Aside from the £100 million we are spending upgrading our road network, the £38m being invested in Zurich’s new offices, the £33m on a new bus interchange and £19.5m on various town centre projects (including £5m to rejuvenate the Health Hydro), Whitbread has almost completed on its purchase of the former Aspen House site opposite the Town Hall.

This is a further £17m being invested in our town centre at a time when most towns and cities are struggling. We also have our plans for a new Cultural Quarter in the pipeline, which if successful, would transform our town centre over the next 10 years.

We need to sell our vision for the Cultural Quarter to private investors and funding bodies to raise the necessary money to pay for it, but we have a strong plan backed by local arts and cultural organisations who have played a crucial part in getting us this far.

I am incredibly proud to live here and I want to assure you we are going to come out of the pandemic stronger.

Our message to the wider world is that Swindon is open for business and we are keen to work with private investors to secure a positive economic future for our town.