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Commonwealth Games bid brings hopes of further regeneration in Birmingham

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Hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games would have a ‘long-lasting effect’ on Birmingham, the head of the city’s architecture school has said

Yesterday the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced Birmingham as the preferred UK candidate city for a potential bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The government chose the city ahead of a rival bid from Liverpool and will decide in the coming weeks whether to submit a formal bid to the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Kevin Singh, head of school of the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, said hosting the Commonwealth Games ‘would add yet another layer of regeneration and development to a city which is already thriving’.

He added: ‘One just has to look at the impressive regeneration in east Manchester following the Commonwealth Games and subsequent Etihad Campus, the new community of New Islington and in particular the high quality of design which developers such as Urban Splash have led.

’The perceived centre of Birmingham is expanding to the east with the Eastside regeneration area, which will be further boosted by HS2, and to the south with the Smithfield development, and so any benefits to the north of the city via the Games would bring some balance to this expansion. If it’s done well, as in Manchester, it can have a long-lasting effect.’

The AJ understands that the designs for the Birmingham bid were drawn up by architect Chris Jopson in collaboration with the Origin Sports Group. 

However, others were not so pleased with the government’s preferred bid.

Alan Dunlop, visiting professor at the University of Liverpool, said he found the decision ‘difficult to understand’. The AJ understands the designs for Liverpool’s bid were drawn up by Kevin Owens. 

Dunlop said: ‘Liverpool’s proposals included a new swimming pool on the water, which would remain after the games. However, I know from my own experience in Glasgow that the city environment and the river, and not only the design of the new venues, contributed a great deal to the success of those games.

’Liverpool’s mixture of new and historic architecture, the quality and scale of it’s riverfront and the humour and friendliness of Liverpudlians should have made it a dead cert.’ 

The city of Durban in South Africa had been selected as the host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, but was stripped of its right to host the event by the Commonwealth Games Federation in March over financial concerns. 

A second election process is set to be held in London this autumn to choose the new host city for the games.

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