The legacy plan was released in March and contains programmes in 10 different areas
Birmingham is preparing to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will take place next summer, between 28 July and 8 August.
The event, which involves athletes from 72 nations, was first held in 1930. The 2022 edition will be the third time that England has hosted the Games, after London in 1934 and Manchester in 2002.
Almost £778 million from public funds are being invested in the Games, while local authorities affirm that communities and the whole region will benefit from the event.
What kind of benefits are expected from the 2022 Commonwealth Games?
At the end of March, the 2022 Commonwealth Games organiser released the official legacy plan.
The document presents the five missions of the mega sporting event: to bring people together, improve health and wellbeing, help the region grow and succeed, be a catalyst for change, and put the region on the map.
Therefore, benefits in infrastructure, health, economics and the environment are expected from the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
How will these objectives be achieved?
The improvements will take place through programmes that comprise 10 different areas: business and tourism; physical activity and well-being; creative and cultural participation; jobs and skills; community cohesion, inclusion and pride; sustainability, social value; volunteering; learning programme; venues and infrastructure.
The most ambitious projects are related to infrastructure and transportation, which have the potential to change the local landscape.
How will the Birmingham landscape change?
A regeneration plan is being conducted in Perry Barr, an area located in the north-west of Birmingham city centre. Almost 46% of Perry Barr residents are under the age of 30, and 60% of the population are from a non-white background, according to Birmingham City Council.
The regeneration plan includes a residential scheme with 1,414 new homes being delivered to the community on the former Birmingham City University (BCU) Teaching Campus at Aldridge Road. The plan offers the possibility to add 500 more units in the future, as local authorities estimate that Birmingham could suffer a demand for 51,100 new homes by 2031.
Besides the residential scheme, Perry Barr is also receiving improvements in the public transportation system. The aims are to better connect the region to other parts of Birmingham and to change the way people move around, prioritising public transport, cyclists and pedestrians. The transportation plan includes:
- Improvements to the A34 corridor;
- The creation of pedestrian and cycle routes;
- A new railway station and a bus interchange with enhanced bus routes.
In total, more than £500 million are being invested in Perry Barr, according to Birmingham City Council. The regeneration map is available here.
Other areas in Birmingham are also receiving improvements in the public transportation system as part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games legacy plan. The aim is to facilitate travel to venues, accommodation, and attractions around the city. The infrastructure projects are the following:
- West Midlands Metro Westside extension in Birmingham City Centre;
- Rail station upgrades at University, Perry Barr, and Coventry;
- ‘Sprint’ bus routes to key venues, Alexander Stadium, and the National Exhibition Centre (NEC).
The transportation plan was prepared by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
What improvements will be made in sports venues?
There are two major projects focused on sports venues.
The first is the redevelopment of the Alexander Stadium, in Perry Barr.
Birmingham City Council is committed to turning Alexander Stadium into a high-profile venue for a range of sporting, leisure and cultural events, in both professional and social levels.
According to the redevelopment proposal, Alexander Stadium will have a capacity of 30,000 seats during the Games. After that, it will be reduced to 18,000, and Birmingham City University will relocate their Sports Science faculty to the stadium.
The City Council expects the stadium to become a place of health, wellbeing, sport, academic and community activity.
A total of £72 million is being invested in the redevelopment of Alexander Stadium. The fund comes from the HM Government, Birmingham City Council, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The second project is the creation of the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, which will host the swimming and diving events.
The centre will have a 50m competition pool, a 25m community pool, diving pool, dry dive area, 108 station gym and 25 station women’s gym, three studios, and 1,000 permanent spectator seats.
In 2023, the centre will open to the public, and the Aquatics Centre will also be used by University of Wolverhampton students. The project´s total cost is £73 million.
The fund comes from the Sandwell Council, HM Government, Sport England, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Sandwell Leisure Trust, and the University of Wolverhampton.
Will the Games improve the local economy?
The local authorities estimate that the Games will create around 35,000 new jobs, volunteering and skills opportunities, totalling at least £350 million in contracts.
A Jobs and Skills Academy (‘The Academy’) has been created to connect these opportunities to local people. Besides the paid jobs, the Academy will also promote volunteer positions, focusing on priority groups (young people, local people, and those who are unemployed). More information about The Academy is due to be released soon.
Meanwhile, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee is going to recruit 1,000 people. The job opportunities are available here.
Another project that would benefit the local economy is The Business and Tourism Programme (BATP), a £24 million programme which aims to boost the West Midlands and the UK as a destination for trade, investment and tourism.
Focusing on nations and territories across the Commonwealth, the BATP will promote sectors and industries where the UK is already a global competitor, such as mobility, data-driven healthcare, creative technologies, and modern business services.
Will all these promises be kept?
To ensure that the legacy plan will be fully delivered, a three-year independent evaluation will monitor the achievements before, during and after the Games.
The focus will be on the £778 million in public investment, as well as the investment generated by the Business and Tourism programme, and investment into capital projects and other sporting, cultural and environmental activities. The final report will be published in 2023.