Birmingham 2022 plans underway as aquatics centre bid revealed
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Birmingham 2022 plans underway as aquatics centre bid revealed

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Designs for a world-class aquatics centre have kicked off the race to get Birmingham ready for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Existing sports facilities played a crucial role in Birmingham’s successful bid to host the competition, with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Louise Martin saying the “vast majority of the Games venues are in place”.

However, a top aquatics centre is still missing and Smethwick, Sandwell, has been confirmed as the location for a proposed £60m facility.

Sandwell Council has revealed plans to build the 5,000-seater venue, including an Olympic-sized competition pool and 25m diving pool, at Londonderry Playing Fields in Smethwick.

The centre would be run by Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) and would include two activity studios, a 12-court sports hall, 125-station gym, 25-station ladies-only gym, an indoor cycling studio, and a sauna and steam room.

“The Commonwealth Games is going to be a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the West Midlands,” said council leader Steve Eling.

“We’re 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 in the area and athletes and visitors from around the globe.”

Councillor Eling said there had already been a focus on improving swimming facilities in the south of the borough and that demand is high in Londonderry Playing Fields.

If the proposals receive planning permission from the Cabinet on 31 January there will be a consultation with residents and businesses.

The cost would be met by bodies including the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Sandwell Council and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.

Through the council’s Select Committee for Leisure Provision, the council has worked with Sport England and other organisation to review leisure requirements across the borough.

Over the past five years, new swimming centre have been built in Wednesbury, Tipton and West Bromwich, in addition to a new pool in Portway Lifestyle Centre in Oldbury.

The new centre would replace ageing and uneconomical facilities at Thimblemill (Smethwick Swimming Centre) and Oldbury (Langley Swimming Centre).

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Designs for a world-class aquatics centre have kicked off the race to get Birmingham ready for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
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