Construction of new Sandwell Aquatics Centre starts ahead of 2022 Commonwealth Games

The new £73 million Commonwealth Games Aquatics Centre will create a "lasting legacy" for Sandwell, a minister has said.

Councillor Yvonne Davies, Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, chief executive officer for Birmingham 2022 Ian Reid, and Sarah Barrow, who won a silver medal in diving at the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Councillor Yvonne Davies, Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, chief executive officer for Birmingham 2022 Ian Reid, and Sarah Barrow, who won a silver medal in diving at the 2014 Commonwealth Games

Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, visited the Smethwick site on Thursday as construction of the new centre got underway.

The venue, which is currently being built off Londonderry Lane, will host the swimming and diving events during the Commonwealth Games, which will be staged between July 27 and August 7 2022. It is the only new venue being built for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Post-competition, the aquatics centre will become an important leisure facility for residents in Smethwick and the wider Sandwell area for years to come.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden visited the site of the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre, where major construction work has started

Mr Dowden said: "It is hugely exciting – it is wonderful to see this project up and running. We are here, two years before the Games, I am confident it will be on time and on budget.

"But more than that we are going to create something fantastic for the Games for the wider West Midlands region but also something that will be a lasting legacy here in Sandwell.

"2022 will be a great year of celebration and the new aquatics centre will put Sandwell right at the heart of the Commonwealth Games. It will be something the whole community can be proud of."

Ian Reid, chief executive officer for Birmingham 2022, said: "I am absolutely delighted we are here. Swimming and diving are one of our first events as part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. This is also our only new build competition venue, so it is really, really exciting to see the progress over the last few months.

"It is much more important than building a venue for 11 days of a competition, the most important part of this venue is that it works for the community and will be used by the community in the long-term."

Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies added: "We are really looking forward to hosting the swimming and diving events for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Being part of the Games has meant we have been able to build an even bigger and better facility which will be a magnet for swimming excellence across the region and we hope future Commonwealth swimmers will be trained at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre."

Major construction work has now started on the Londonderry Lane site in Smethwick ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games

The facility will include a 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool, as well as a 25m diving pool, community swimming pool and permanent seating for 1,000 people, with additional seating being brought in for the Commonwealth Games. Additional facilities will include a dry dive area, activity studios, sports halls, a fitness suite. There will also be a football pitch and an urban park on the site.

Work on the facility is expected to be completed in spring 2022. After the Commonwealth Games, further work will be done on the site, before it opens its doors to the public in 2023, when it will be operated by the Sandwell Leisure Trust.

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