The Oasis leisure centre's first activities manager is dismayed at the continuing deterioration of the complex since it shut nearly a year ago.

But Chic Carvell thinks the 1970s building he worked in shouldn’t be listed. Instead a new centre should be built which will last another half century.

Mr Carvell worked at the site in North Star from the opening in 1976 until 1982 and was its activities manager and deputy manager.

He spoke to the Adver in November 2020 shortly after the announcement it would not open again after the autumn lockdown and he has followed the saga of break-ins and damage with sorrow.

After the Adver’s story last week about rubbish all over the site he said: “What I saw stunned me. It was like a ghost of its former self left to rot, rubbish piled high in bags next to the all-weather pitches, the skateboard area had cans and food all over the place, graffiti painted over the back of the main hall and more rubbish not bagged up in the rear staff parking area.

"A large tree is starting to grow over the vertical structure that houses the flumes and foliage is growing up the side of the dome.

“What a mess and it saddened me greatly to see what was a vibrant and exciting place to visit for sport and family leisure become a casualty of the pandemic and the general economic climate we face.”

Still a Swindon resident and as someone who cares about the Oasis Mr Carvell said the important consideration is what comes next.

“Is it going to become another Mechanics Institute or Locarno and be left to rot for many years? In my opinion a proper feasibility study should be carried out to ensure a new Oasis - Oasis 2 - is economically viable, built with modern materials to ensure it will last for another 40 to 50 years and with modern technology to provide a positive carbon foot print.

This will help to keep the operating costs to a manageable level. It is only right that SevenCapital and Swindon Borough Council work together to secure the finance needed for an Oasis 2 as well as appointing a recognised company with a proven record in the leisure industry to run the centre in a way that will maximise its revenue potential with an affordable pricing structure for those who will use it from Swindon and surrounding communities.”

This means that Mr Carvell would prefer not to see the bid to have the original building listed, which is still under consideration by Historic England, approved.

He said: “I hope the Historic England application is not successful as it will likely prevent the vision of a new complex being built for today’s sport and exercise needs for our growing community.

Recent research has concluded that a large leisure pool like the Oasis is no longer viable and instead there could be a smaller complex housing a learner pool, plus a 20-25 metre pool for exercise and improvement of swimming technique, as well as an imaginative area that would accommodate fun slides. New facilities on the dry side could reflect various sports and fitness requirements as recommended by the feasibility study.

“I know I am not alone in my disappointment at the state of the Oasis site, and I feel that Swindon and the surrounding areas deserve an Oasis 2 with modern designed facilities for the next generations.”

The borough council and leaseholder SevenCapital both oppose the listing application.

SevenCapital has produced drawings of a new centre it wants to build on the site and says listing the existing buildings would make a new complex impossible. The centre has now been closed for 11 months.