25th March 2021

Possible solution found to preserve the famous iconic dome

Save Oasis Campaign Seeks Sustainable Solutions - graphic of Oasis with palm tree

Save Oasis Campaign Seeks Sustainable Solutions
Not letting themselves become clouded by sentimentality, the Save the Oasis campaign group have set themselves the task of seeking sustainable solutions. Of course they want the dome preserving. But they have full understanding that to keep it, it must function better than it ever has.

And, to that end, with great excitement, they have a possible breakthrough to announce.

See also: https://swindonian.me/2021/02/03/10-the-oasis-pleasure-dome/

The dome under threat – Save Oasis Campaign Seeks Sustainable Solutions

The dome – which forms an integral part of the famous Swindon Oasis Leisure Centre – came under threat recently. The threat occurred when Seven Capital and Swindon Borough Council released a computer-generated image, of what appeared to be new building.

The Save Oasis Swindon campaign questioned why the dome was missing from the plans. In particular when the Council administration had promised a refurbishment of the dome not a demolition.

A spokesman for Save Oasis Swindon said: ‘The council administration told us that the building is not energy efficient, as the pool costs £1,500 a day to heat. We were also told by the head of Swindon Borough Council, Councillor David Renard, that the dome has reached the end of its life.

‘We don’t think that Seven Capital have exhausted every option to preserve the iconic dome. The panels on the dome were only replaced in 2015, some six years ago. The previous panels before that were in place for almost four decades. Swindonians should ask questions about why, in 2015, the heat inefficient dome panels installed . Fast forward six years, and now the developer is saying the building isn’t viable. We can’t sit back and accept that situation.

‘The information we got stated that the current dome panels consist of single-ply polycarbonate sheets, installed on the lightweight aluminium space frame. Further, Seven Capital stated that they have a very low U value. This means that he pool has poor insulation and heat retaining properties.

Set about seeking advice

Undeterred, the campaign group set about getting external, expert advice.

Said campaigner leader Neil, ‘We contacted an historical architecture group who pointed us to engineers that specialise in pool restorations. We explained the current problem with the Oasis dome. To our amazement, they came back with a solution that would enable the iconic dome structure to remain.

Iceni Futures suggested using ‘EFTE pillows’. In essence the bubble type panels the Eden Project uses. The company said they would improve energy efficiency. Further they’re lightweight, so the existing structure could support them. These pillows are a tried and tested solution and would work well at the Oasis.

They even said that the pillows would replicate the appearance of the existing ‘bubble’ type panels present at the Oasis before 2015. They confirmed that the EFTE pillows would be more energy efficient than the current flat polycarbonate sheets. It’s also possible to embed solar cells within them.

It seems that the EFTE solution would have been available in 2015. So they imagine that the flat sheets got chosen due to cost. But at £1,500 a day to heat, it’s definitely a false economy.

‘Iceni Futures promised to work with a structural engineer and the EFTE manufacturer to devise a custom solution for the Oasis. They would calculate the energy improvements and the potential daily heating costs.

The Oasis dome from above - Save Oasis Campaign Seeks Sustainable Solutions

Next steps

The Save Oasis Swindon campaign have sent their findings to Swindon Borough Council and Councillor David Renard for consideration. Also to Seven Capital.

Said the campaign: ‘The administration must do more to investigate ways to make the existing dome and building viable. Many people love the Oasis for what it already offers.

“We hope that Seven Capital take this exciting opportunity to work with Iceni Futures and see what it’s possible to achieve at the Oasis. This will enable preservation of the iconic dome structure, regardless of the Historic England listing outcome.’

The spokesman concluded: ‘Labour Councillor Jim Grant has been in fulll support of our plan to save the famous dome. He said this could be the answer we are all looking for. He told us the Labour group are one hundred percent behind it. Our campaign hopes that all the council political parties can sign up to our plan to save the dome. Jim also thanked our campaign and said the people of Swindon should be ever grateful.’

The Save Oasis Swindon campaign, which has almost 2,000 followers on Facebook – and backed by many celebrities. If you want to follow them you’ll find them here: https://www.facebook.com/saveoasis

They’re also here on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaveOasis

Save Oasis Campaign Seeks Sustainable Solutions

It’s worth noting that a Swindon school is already using such technology: https://www.architen.com/projects/north-swindon-school/?fbclid=IwAR16f7WyeIZ6lc-WMfXOUpIgx70TzbZ1qs4s-1rIPEk9_Up1Lm2mnJStnZA

Heavy criticism

The recent regeneration received heavy criticism. The Oasis is a symbol of Swindon and is a well-known, treasured landmark. It’s well loved by Swindon residents, and those further afield who travel to Swindon to enjoy the Oasis. You can read more of that here:

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