Swimming pool inside leisure centre
Oasis Leisure Centre, Swindon © Historic England Archive. DP138829.
Oasis Leisure Centre, Swindon © Historic England Archive. DP138829.

Oasis Leisure Centre, Swindon

We are pleased that Swindon Borough Council are making progress in plans to reopen the Oasis swimming pool. The Oasis dome is protected through listing, but that isn’t a barrier to its reopening.

Our structural engineer, historic buildings inspector and building services engineer have been providing advice. We’ve advised on plans to upgrade the dome to meet modern standards of energy efficiency while preserving its heritage significance, and these plans now have listed building consent.

Our specialist team are keen to help ensure that the upgrade is cost-effective and will give the Oasis the long-term sustainable future it deserves.

More about the building

The Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon was listed at Grade II in December 2021 by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on Historic England’s advice.

It was designed by Peter Sargent of Gillinson, Barnett and Partners in 1974 and opened on New Year’s Day, 1976. The swimming pool is the best and earliest example of the newly developed building type, which went on to gain huge popularity in the 1970s and ‘80s, marking the cultural shift from swimming for fitness to swimming for fun. Most early of the early examples of these buildings have now been lost to redevelopment.

The 45-metre swimming pool dome is an architecturally-striking and technically accomplished structure. Externally, it rises from a grassy bank, while internally, the aluminium spaceframe provides a dramatic setting for the pool and is well-suited to its use, having withstood the corrosive pool environment. While the glazing has been replaced, the architectural concept remains apparent. It was carefully planned by the architects to create a fun and attractive leisure space, and the key features of the concept survive, including the free-form lagoon pool with its sloping, beach-like approach, and the infrastructure for a tropical planting scheme. Its design remains synonymous with the early development of the leisure pool.

The listing has been limited to include only the domed pool. The dry-sports side of the building, waterslides, launch tower and splash pool, entrance block and service structures are not included in the listing.

The plant and machinery are also excluded from the listing. The decision to repair and reinstate the wave machine will be a commercial decision rather than a listed building requirement.

Swindon Borough Council will need to consider if elements of the Oasis Centre that are not listed can be incorporated into the reopened leisure complex.