Birmingham 2022 today reveals its plans for the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre. This would be the only new build facility required for its Commonwealth Games bid.
Plans for the Aquatics Centre are already underway, following a public consultation and Cabinet Report by Sandwell Council in Spring 2017, which identified the need for competitive swimming facilities within the Borough as a priority. The plans for the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre align with national sports strategies.
Initially proposed as a leisure complex comprising a 50m pool and community leisure facilities, a Commonwealth Games in the region would see the Sandwell Aquatics Centre plans upgraded, to include a warm-up pool and competition diving pool with a moveable floor. Diving is an optional sport within the Commonwealth Games sports roster but has been included by the 2022 bid in recognition of the public’s passion for and the country’s potential to win medals at this dramatic sport.
The proposed diving pool will enhance the legacy of the Sandwell Aquatics Centre to the local community as the moveable floor provides flexibility around the use of the pool, catering for beginners and toddlers as a shallow pool, through to the provision of much needed elite training facilities for diving within the Black Country and West Midlands.
Less than ten miles from the centre of Birmingham, the Sandwell Aquatics Centre will extend the benefits of the Commonwealth Games bid across the wider region, providing opportunities to see world class sport as well as providing volunteering, jobs and business opportunities to the local community.
The Black Country LEP has already committed its support to the Birmingham bid. Scheduled to be operational in 2021, permanent poolside spectator seating for up to 1,000 will also be a venue legacy, with a further 4,000 seats installed on a temporary basis during the Games.
Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure, Sandwell MBC, said: “Sandwell prides itself on providing high quality sport and leisure facilities to our customers. Our recent consultation identified a lack of competitive swimming facilities to support water based sports and meet the expectations of our customers.
We are keen to support Birmingham with its bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and this Aquatic Centre will provide not only fantastic facilities for the Games but a legacy of better swimming facilities for our residents.”
Paul Brown, BC LEP Board Member, Chair Competitiveness Advisory Board, said: “Black Country LEP have backed the 2022 Commonwealth Games bid along with their West Midlands colleagues recognising both the economic and inspirational benefits that hosting such a prestigious event will bring to our region. The Games will provide a golden opportunity for our local athletes to compete on home ground and raise the aspirations of our residents and businesses to be part of an international event.
The planned Aquatic Centre at Sandwell, which will include a competition sized swimming pool will provide a sporting and economic legacy for the Black Country as well as the West Midlands. We are all looking forward to a successful conclusion to the bidding process with a West Midlands win so we can begin the planning process in earnest and maximise the opportunities that such an event will bring both for our residents and businesses.”
Ellie Simmonds OBE, five-time Paralympic Champion, swimming, from Walsall in the West Midlands said: “It is great news that the West Midlands will finally be getting a world-class competition standard swimming pool. When I was a youngster progressing up the rankings I had to move from Walsall to Wales in order to find facilities of the standard I needed to train.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the Sandwell Aquatics Centre will inspire the next generation of swimmers as well as encourage the local community to enjoy swimming and diving and learn a valuable life skill.
I am so excited about the possibility of the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham and urge everyone to back the Birmingham Bid.”
Ian Ward, Chair of the Commonwealth Games Bid Company, said: “We rightly take pride in having 95% of facilities already available for our Birmingham 2022 bid. The new Sandwell Aquatics Centre is an important sports and community investment that will provide a fantastic legacy, whilst addressing a recognised need for swimming facilities in the wider area.
Diving is an optional sport within the Commonwealth Games, but its success and popularity in the UK is such that we believe it is important to include in the schedule as it will add value and variety to the Aquatics events. We look forward to seeing medals being won in this fantastic new pool.”
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