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Last minute attempt to halt 2022 Commonwealth Games aquatic centre plan

Smethwick | Commonwealth Games | Published:

Opponents of plans to build a £60 million aquatic centre for the 2022 Commonwealth Games are preparing to make a last ditch attempt to overturn the proposals.

How the 2022 Commonwealth Games Aquatics Centre in Smethwick could look like

Members of  Save Londonderry Lane Playing Fields group are to lobby a meeting of Sandwell’s full council in an effort to halt the project.

Campaigners say the project for a 50-metre Olympic-sized competition swimming pool, a diving pool plus two gyms and an eight-court sports hall, should be built on a brownfield site and not on green space in Smethwick.

The protest is their last chance to stop the proposal after if received planning permission two weeks ago.

Campaigners have said the plans will lead to the loss of valuable green space,  cause traffic congestion and vehicle emissions will add to air pollution in the area.

Keith Price, from the Save Londonderry Lane Playing Fields group, told planning councillors in March that residents had not been consulted on reduction of the playing fields area.

And he attacked the council for failing to do an air quality assessment, saying “Air quality around there is pretty awful, particularly at certain times of the day.

“I have seen absolutely nothing that tells me that monitoring has been done on that site.”

Cllr Bill Gavan, cabinet member for leisure and Commonwealth Games, has defended the scheme saying: “This is a very exciting moment for us.

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“Residents in the Smethwick area told us they desperately wanted new leisure facilities and we can now start moving forward with our plans.

“We are also very excited to have the opportunity to host the diving and swimming competitions in Sandwell for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. This will be a spectacular event and we are looking forward to being part of the Games.”

The plans need the final approval of the full council and campaigners hope they can persuade them to reject the scheme.

The full council will meet on April 9.

By George Makin, Local Democracy Reporter

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