Plans revealed for £60m Commonwealth Games aquatics centre
A £60m aquatics centre will be built on the site of playing fields in Smethwick following the decision to award Birmingham the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Sandwell Council had been keeping the site of the proposed venue under wraps until confirmation was given that Birmingham would be hosting the event.
While the majority of sporting venues capable of staging such a large event are already present in the Birmingham city region, the one glaring omission was an Olympic-size swimming pool.
(See picture below)
In order to convince the Commonwealth Games Federation of its ability to stage the event, Birmingham’s bid team had to state that a new aquatics centre was core to its plans.
The fact the new centre will be built in Sandwell rather than in Birmingham is also testament to the regional focus of the Games.
The cost of the new centre will be met by various organisations involved in delivering the Commonwealth Games, including the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Sandwell Council and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.
Sandwell Council is proposing to build the centre at Londonderry Playing Fields. Its plan is to provide a facility that will continue to serve the borough long after the Games are over.
The centre will feature an Olympic-sized competition swimming pool and a 25m diving pool, plus 5,000 spectator seats.
Also planned at the centre – which would be run by Sandwell Leisure Trust – are two activity studios, a 12-court sports hall, a 125-station gym, a 25-station ladies-only gym, an indoor cycling studio, a sauna/steam room and a café.
The council will now put the proposal to the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Announcing the plans, Sandwell Council leader Cllr Steve Eling said: “The Commonwealth Games is going to be a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the West Midlands.
“Here in Sandwell, we are very proud to be part of it and to be chosen to host the aquatics centre, which will include diving and swimming events.
“The eyes of the world will be on Sandwell and the benefits to the local economy will be huge with significant investment into the area and athletes and visitors from around the globe.”
The proposals will be considered by Sandwell Council’s cabinet on January 31.