‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.’ Swindon’s indoor ski slopes and mega-leisure centre (Snoasis) gets much anticipated go-ahead.
It’s that time of year when people begin to speculate on the chances of a White Christmas and sing carols about the joys of frolicking in the snow, but in Swindon it will soon be snowing all year round after the £270 million ‘Snoasis’ development secured its long-anticipated planning permission.
At the decisive meeting of Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee, one councillor described the decision to give the 250,000 square metre ‘Snowasis’ site the green light as “the most important decision the chamber has taken for over 20 years”.
The ground-breaking development will be built on wasteland next to the existing Oasis Leisure Centre and the site will include two indoor ski slopes, a family snow play area, a gym, a trampolining centre and a large amount of retail space. There will also be the largest IMAX screen in the UK at a new 12-screen Empire cinema and Hollywood Bowl is planning a 19-lane attraction with an arcade, cafe´ and bar.
The project is being developed by Seven Capital, one of the UK’s leading property investment companies. Director John Watkins says he hopes that enabling works could start as early as January 2019: “We should be able to start work in April or May and then it should be about two years until it’s open. There is a huge appetite for this fantastic scheme and our vision for it – to create a first-class regional leisure destination that will cement Swindon firmly on the map.”
Not surprisingly the news that Swindon will soon be the venue for the South West’s premier leisure facility has been greeted with delight from all quarters. One enthusiast is Andy Wootten, a local skier from Royal Wootton Bassett. He said: “I already travel to the indoor slopes at Milton Keynes and Hemel Hempstead, so this will be much closer. I'm definitely going to go, I might even try and get a job there!”
And the good news about Snowasis has spread further than Swindon. Shon Douglas, a keen skier from Cheltenham, says, “I saw the decision on Twitter. I will 100 per cent be going to it. Instead of trekking up to Tamworth for my pre-skiing fix, if this is just 40 minutes away, I’ll be going to Swindon instead. I think it’ll be great for the town.”
Swindon councillor Stan Pajak says, “Forty-four years ago the Oasis leisure centre was a landmark in leisure development. Now we can do this again all these years afterwards and again put Swindon at the top in terms of leisure. We can see this becoming the best snowdome in the whole of the UK.”
The fact that the Snowasis site is barely a five-minute drive from Swindon’s Designer Outlet, a magnet for shoppers in search of leading brands, provides even more incentive to visit the town. A case of skiing gear and bowling in the mornings, designer gear and bargains in the afternoon?