Swindon North Star leisure park plans submitted

By Anita Jaynes on 12 June, 2015

Moirai Capital Investments are seeking approval for their 31 acre (12.5ha) leisure development which will be built around the newly refurbished Oasis Leisure Centre, on the North Star site.

Following a period of public consultation, the developer has today submitted revised plans to Swindon Borough Council for a mixed use scheme, to include:

– Up to 50,000sqm of mixed leisure including a cinema, 5,000 seat entertainment arena, ski centre and other leisure uses which could potentially include a crazy golf centre, comedy club, laser tag and skate park;

– Up to 12,000sqm of restaurants and cafes;

– Up to 12,000sqm retail space, with a minimum of 9,000sqm of sports retailing;

– Up to 9,000sqm for a hotel;

The remaining space would be made up of associated zones and services, such as a central plaza and internal walkways; up to 1,600 car parking spaces and motorcycle spaces; cycle parking spaces; drop off bays for disabled users, taxis and coaches; landscaping and access routes; improvements to existing highway junctions, and the replacement of existing sports pitches.

The vast leisure scheme will have an investment value of £120 million and will be one of the largest mixed use projects of its type in the UK.

Commenting on this important stage in the development of the sites, Martin Barber, Chairman of the Moirai Board, said: “The submission for approval of the outline plans is a crucial step in the process of getting this major development on the ground. All of us at Moirai are really pleased to have achieved this milestone. Getting to this point has been complex, with consideration given to the best possible layout for the project, but also to issues such as traffic management and the potential environmental impact of the development. We are confident that the submission we have made takes account of all these – and other – factors.

We have long said that the Oasis and North Star sites have great potential for development as a leisure and entertainment destination for the surrounding area. We are entirely confident that the plans we have submitted will achieve that objective.”

Cllr Garry Perkins, Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration & Skills said: “The planning application represents another key step in this exciting project. I am satisfied that now Moirai have put together a proposal that matches the council’s ambitions for the North Star site, and I look forward to hearing more as they get closer to turning these plans into a reality and gain commitments from prospective operators.”

It is anticipated that many visitors to the new facility will arrive by train, since Swindon’s station is only a short distance away. Forward Swindon has completed a feasibility study for a new pedestrian crossing over the mainline, adjacent to the station. The bridge would connect up the North and South parts of Swindon town centre, making it easier and safer for visitors to the new amenities and various businesses on this side of the railway line. Seeking funding for the crossing is the next stage.

Chris Hitchings, Director of Development at economic growth and regeneration company Forward Swindon, said: “Swindon is well connected to a huge, affluent catchment, and there is a demand for a multi-use leisure scheme of this magnitude. The arena and ski centre, for example, will provide Swindon with high profile destinations to compete with the likes of Cardiff, Bristol and Milton Keynes.”

Top, visual of the North Star leisure site. Bottom, the layout of the site