Birmingham has been confirmed as the host city of the 2022 Games but to convince the Commonwealth Games Federation of its ability to stage the event its bid had to include plans for a new aquatics centre in the region.
The £60m aquatic venue will be built on the site of playing fields in Smethwick and the cost will be covered by various organisations involved in delivering the Commonwealth Games – including Sandwell Council, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Commonwealth Games organising committee.
The proposed site for the state-of-the-art aquatics centre is Londonderry Playing Fields in Smethwick. Sandwell Council’s plan is to provide a facility that will continue to serve the borough long after the Games are over.
The centre, which will be run by Sandwell Leisure Trust, will include an Olympic-sized (50m long) competition swimming pool, a 25m diving pool and 5,000 spectator seats. It will also include two activity studios, a 12-court sports hall, a 125-station gym, a 25-station women-only gym, an indoor cycling studio, a sauna/steam room and a café.
When announcing the plans for the aquatics centre, Sandwell Council leader Councillor 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.”
Mr Eling added the proposed location is “well-placed to meet the needs of local people” and that “adequate alternative spaces” would be provided for the lost playing fields.
The proposals were being considered by Sandwell Council’s cabinet at the end of January and if approved will be subject to planning permission and a full consultation with residents and businesses.