Councillors in the West Midlands have approved an aquatics centre to be built for the 2022 Commonwealth Games – but a contractor will be chosen ahead of an architect for the £60 million scheme.
Sandwell Council’s cabinet backed plans for a huge leisure centre in Smethwick including a 50m pool and 5,000 spectator seats for Birmingham 2022.
The committee also approved the start of procurement of specialist advisers for the scheme, and the use of the Scape framework for ‘design and build’ of the centre.
A council spokesperson said: ‘Following cabinet approval for the proposals, the council can now move forward with its procurement of specialist contractors through the Scape framework. The construction contractor, in partnership with the council, is then responsible for the appointment of the architect.’
Design of the Commonwealth Games swimming arena will be in the spotlight after Zaha Hadid’s much-loved aquatics centre for the London 2012 Olympics was shortlisted for a Stirling Prize.
Sandwell Council leader Steve Eling said: ‘There’s a lot of excitement building around the Commonwealth Games and it’s going to be fantastic for the area.
‘We’re very proud to be part of it and to be hosting the swimming and diving events here in Sandwell. The benefits to the local economy will be huge and the eyes of the world will be on Sandwell.’
The proposed centre – to be run by Sandwell Leisure Trust – will also have 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.
A £27.6 million council budget has been allocated for the project, to come from a mixture of capital funding and external funding bids. The remainder of the funding is expected to come from bodies including the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.
A consultation will be held on the future uses of the existing Langley and Smethwick Swimming Centres.