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Construction firm revealed for Commonwealth Games aquatics centre

By Richard Guttridge | Smethwick | Property | Published:

A contractor has been appointed to build the Commonwealth Games aquatics centre in Sandwell.

An artist's impression of the Aquatics Centre

Wates Construction will deliver the state-of-the-art facility in Smethwick, which will host swimming and diving events at the 2022 tournament.

It will then be used as a leisure centre for Sandwell.

The company is based just four miles away in Quinton and has worked with the council on the design of the building.

John Carlin, regional managing director at Wates, said: “It is a huge privilege to be appointed as the design and construction partner for this important community facility.

“As a locally-based company, we’re extremely excited to be part of the area’s changing landscape but more importantly, we’re working hard to create a lasting legacy.

"We’re committed to delivering an exemplary project that creates a tangible economic and social impact and is completed on time and to budget.”

What the Aquatics Centre will look like

Alison Knight, Sandwell Council’s executive director for neighbourhoods, added: “This is a very exciting development for Sandwell, bringing a much-needed modern leisure facility for our residents in Smethwick.

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"We look forward to working with Wates and seeing the delivery of a world class facility that will serve the residents of Sandwell for decades to come.”

Despite the fact the facility will result in a major sporting competition coming to the Black Country, the development has faced fierce opposition locally.

Campaigners say it is being built in the wrong place and want the fields on Londonderry Lane, where it will be built, to be protected. They have vowed to take their fight to Westminster after the build was approved by Sandwell Council.

The controversial plans were rubber-stamped at a council meeting on April 9 after bosses agreed to sign off the plans and remove the site from Sandwell Council’s development plan, after it was initially given planning permission on March 13.

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The Londonderry Playing Fields would be redeveloped to make way for the new centre

Members of the Save Londonderry Playing Fields campaign group made a last-ditch attempt to overturn the proposals when they protested outside the council house before the meeting.

They stood with signs that said ‘save Londonderry fields’ and pleaded with councillors as they made their way into the council house through the back entrance.

Campaigners say the project should be built on a brownfield site and not on green space in Smethwick.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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