Commonwealth Games aquatics centre 'will not suffer same fate as athletes' village'

Council bosses in Sandwell have vowed to deliver the Commonwealth Games aquatics on time, as they insisted they were confident it would not suffer the same fate as the abandoned athletes' village.

Work is gathering pace on the aquatics centre in Smethwick
Work is gathering pace on the aquatics centre in Smethwick

Construction work is continuing on the £73 million centre, which will host swimming and diving events at Birmingham 2022, but the viability of venues has been brought into sharp focus following the collapse of the athletes' village proposal.

The athletes' village, which has already been hit by spiralling costs, formed part of ambitious plans to regenerate Perry Barr as part of the Games legacy but it was announced last week it would not be included due to the impact of the pandemic, with athletes to be put up in university accommodation instead. New homes will still be built at the site.

Sandwell Council chiefs said a "robust construction programme" meant the project would not be thrown off course by coronavirus.

It is expected to be completed next year to ensure it can undergo testing and security plans put in place for the 2022 Games.

Councillor Maria Crompton, acting leader of Sandwell Council, said: “Like the whole country, the Sandwell Aquatics Centre has faced unprecedented circumstances but construction has continued positively thanks to the proactive approach of our construction partner and everyone else involved with its delivery.

How the completed centre will look

“There has always been a robust construction programme in place which has put us in a good position to be able to respond to Covid-19 and we are committed to delivering this project on time jointly with our partners so that we not only have the privilege of being a host venue for Birmingham 2022 but also provide a world-class facility for our residents here in Sandwell.”

The awarding of swimming and diving events to Sandwell is a major coup for the borough and ensures the Black Country will play a key part in the Commonwealth Games. Mountain biking events are also due to be staged on Cannock Chase.

The aquatics centre is being built on Londonderry Lane and will become a leisure centre for public use after the Games.

It was revealed last year it would cost more than £13m more than first thought to deliver.

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