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Plans for £60m aquatics centre in Sandwell approved by planners

By Thomas Parkes | Smethwick | Commonwealth Games | Published:

Plans for a £60m aquatics centre in Sandwell have been approved by planners – with the scheme to be rubber-stamped next month.

Artist impressions of how the new centre would look. Picture: Sandwell Council

The Commonwealth Games centre will have to go through a full council meeting on April 9 for ratification.

It will be ratified and signed off because of a “departure” from the Sandwell Council’s development plan, planning officer John Baker said at last night’s planning committee.

Conditions for the approval include more information on event management, parking and CCTV use.

Artist impressions of how the new centre would look. Picture: Sandwell Council

It was waved through with one objection by Councillor Jackie Taylor, who highlighted concerns over the consultation.

The news comes after West Midlands Police objected to the planned site in Smethwick over fears about a lack of protection from terrorist attacks.

In the planning report, West Midlands Police has raised concerns about the lack of security in the building’s initial design.

Artist impressions of how the new centre would look. Picture: Sandwell Council

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The force has called for reassurances that the issue of security is considered.

West Midlands Police and Sandwell Council declined to elaborate on what security measures they were looking at.

Residents have also objected to the project and are fighting to save the green space where the centre has been earmarked. A total of 240 people have signed a petition.

Artist impressions of how the new centre would look. Picture: Sandwell Council

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The aquatic centre would host elite athletes from around the world during the international sporting tournament in three years time.

The centre would have a 50m Olympic sized swimming pool, 25m diving pool, studio pool and 1,000 spectator seats.

There would also be a dry-dive facility 108-station gym, 25-station ladies-only gym, three activity studios, eight-course sports hall, indoor cycling studio, a sauna, steam room, 300 car parking spaces, a football pitch and changing facilities.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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