Sandwell Aquatics Centre Frequently Asked Questions
What facilities will the new centre have?
The centre will have an Olympic-sized competition swimming pool a 25m diving pool, and a community swimming pool. The main pool will feature a boom and a move-able floor which means that the length and depth of the pool can be varied, enabling a larger number of groups of all ages and abilities to use it.
Sandwell Aquatics Centre, when open to the public will have 1,000 spectator seats for the swimming pools, three activity studios, two 4-court sports hall, 108-station gym, 25-station ladies only gym, dry diving facilities, an indoor cycling studio, new football pitch and changing facilities, sauna/steam room, new urban park with a children's play area, and a café.
How much will the Sandwell Aquatics Centre cost to build?
Who will be paying for it?
The total £73 million cost of building the new centre would be met by various organisations involved in delivering the Commonwealth Games 2022, including Central Government, Sandwell Council, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Sport England, and Sandwell Leisure Trust.
How much is the council paying towards building it?
The council has an approved budget of £27 million to contribute towards the project. The exact breakdown is yet to be agreed.
What about people and groups that use Londonderry Playing Fields?
Following planning approval, the council are working closely with residents and the local community to the protect and improve parks in the close vicinity to Londonderry Playing Fields.
The council will improve the quality of the football pitch on the site and provide new changing facilities which will see a much-needed improvement on the current ones.
How we will keep local residents and businesses up-to-date?
Sandwell Council are committed to providing the local community with regular updates throughout the life of this project. Regular drop-in events will be programmed throughout the construction period.
To receive future updates, either register your interest online and subscribe to the topic of “Sandwell Aquatics Centre” or contact the Sandwell Aquatics Centre Project Management Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
When will work start and the centre be open to the public?
Following successful planning approval in April 2019, works will commence on site on Monday 10 June 2019. The site will be completely closed for public access from Monday 1st July 2019 until the completion of the project in 2023.
When the centre is opened to the public in 2023 the facility will be run by Sandwell Leisure Trust. SLT members can expect the same offering and prices as other SLT facilities.
Will Langley Swimming Centre and Smethwick Swimming Centre have to close? If so, when would they close? What would happen to users, groups, staff there?
The new state-of-the-art aquatics centre will ultimately replace our ageing and uneconomical swimming centres in the area. It is the council’s ambition that all centres remain open until services transfer to the new centre. This means that there will be an uninterrupted service offer for our residents during the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Cabinet will be asking for a report and consultation on future uses of these buildings and we will not make any decisions until that consultation is completed.
How will local roads cope with the congestion/disruption during the Games for the new centre?
Highway improvements are part of our proposals. A comprehensive traffic management plan will be part of the planning application and consultation, the delivery of which will leave lasting, much-needed improvements to the local roads. As always, our aim is to minimise disruption.
An important part of the mission of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be the delivery of a 'Public Transport Games' where walking, cycling and public transport will be the first choice for spectators and workforce travelling to venues.
This will be achieved through a significant upgrade in the public/active transport offer including enhanced rail services, improved cycle routes/parking and dedicated shuttle bus services from transport hubs and park & ride sites.
Athletes, technical officials and media will travel to the venue by dedicated bus and coach services. There will be limited car parking on-site at the venue for accredited operational vehicles and Games officials only. As such, it is anticipated that there will be no private car parking at the venue for spectators (except Blue Badge accessible parking). All spectators will be expected to travel by public transport, walk or cycle or use dedicated shuttle buses operating specifically for the Games.
Temporary traffic management and parking controls will be introduced and enforced around the venue on event days to protect local residents and businesses from spectators and workforce parking cars on local streets. Local access will be maintained for local residents and businesses, and further details on these access arrangements will be provided in the lead up to the event.
What impact will the building works have on local traffic?
We will manage the delivery of goods and materials and avoid deliveries during the morning and afternoon rush hours. The delivery vehicles will be able to turn into the site and off the main carriageway prior to reporting to the gateman. All deliveries will be pre-arranged with an allocated arrival time. The goods will be unloaded within the site to designated storage areas and the vehicles will turn within the boundary to leave site.
Will the building works be noisy?
Inevitably, the works will generate some noise. However, these will be kept to a minimum and will be time restricted. Works generally take place between 8am and 5pm. We will keep neighbours informed of the works taking place and warn of any noisy activities. We do this through letter drops to all properties on the boundary of the site.
Will the workers park their vans on the roads and pavements outside my house?
During the construction, on-site vehicle parking is being built so that workers can park on the construction site. On-site parking will be made available for construction workers in March 2020, if you experience any problems with workers parking vehicles outside of your property please get in touch with us via email.
What road improvements are being made to the area?
Initial highways designs to Manor Road/Holly Lane Island, Queens Head Island, Londonderry Lane/Manor Road Island have been drafted by Sandwell Council who will discuss these with residents from February 2020 onwards.
Will I be able to use the park while the aquatics centre is being built?
No, the site boundary will be secured to prevent unauthorised access. We will be speaking to local schools about the dangers of construction sites. We use these visits to explain more about the construction industry. We want children and adults to get involved in the industry. Safety is our highest priority, to our supply chain, our staff and the public.
When do the works start?
Work is due to start over the next few months to prepare Londonderry Playing Fields for construction works, beginning in December 2019. It is important that you know exactly what work will be happening on the site over the next few months.
Monday 10 June 2019 – There will be no access to the site from Londonderry Lane as the children’s play equipment will be removed (play equipment will be re-installed at Black Patch Park) and demolition of changing rooms will take place. Access will still be available from Manor Road.
Monday 17 June 2019 – Western Power utilities improvements will begin on Londonderry Lane. This work will mean that parking and stopping will be restricted on Londonderry Lane and temporary traffic lights will be installed to manage traffic flow and minimise increased congestion. Further information on this will be released by Western Power.
Monday 1 July 2019 – The site will be completely closed for public access until the completion of this project in 2023. The site will be handed over to Wates Construction Ltd and enabling works will commence, including but not limited to site access improvements, diversion of a sewer on site, site level work and initial piling work.
The main construction works will start at the end of 2019 and will continue until the beginning of 2022. The Commonwealth Games are in the summer of 2022 so the site will be prepared for this worldwide event.
Who can I talk to about the building works once it starts?
A contact name and number will be provided in the newsletter and it will be displayed on the fencing at the site entrance. We want to be a good neighbour and welcome discussions around how we can improve what we do.
Can I get involved in the works?
The project will require local businesses to get involved. Opportunities will be advertised on Find It in Birmingham and Find it in the Black Country. There will also be opportunities to get involved in the Games both as a supplier and volunteer.
As part of our planning for the building of the centre, we would ensure adequate parking for day-to-day use of the centre, plus there will be a full transport management plan for the Commonwealth Games itself.
The council are also working with partners to improve the public transport serving the site which will leave a lasting legacy for all residents who live in the surrounding area.
Loss of green space
The new leisure centre will be designed to maximise the green space on the site with a new urban park and children’s play area included in the plans. The council will also improve the trees on the site and include diverse planting in the plans to improve the bio-diversity of the site and encourage wildlife.
The council are working with Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People Programme on a £5.1m project to improve West Smethwick Park which is within 500m of Londonderry Playing Fields. The council are also working with partners to protect the enhanced green space on the site and another green space in the local vicinity for generations to come.
Ecology of the site
The site-specific survey work has confirmed that the majority of the site is largely unconstrained by ecology or biodiversity and that, as such there are unlikely to be any significant ecological impacts arising from the proposed development.
Choice of location
We considered our choice of location very carefully. We need a site that’s big enough and can be developed quickly due to the tight timescales. This site is also very well placed for people to get to for the community for generations to come. It’s also in the area where a real need for improved swimming facilities has been identified so this is a golden opportunity to provide a state-of-the-art facility for the future. Londonderry Playing Fields fits the bill perfectly to achieve this and means that the new centre can be developed without the need to extend beyond the boundary of the site.
Londonderry Playing Fields has an industrial background and is an old clay pit and tip that has subsequently been covered over. The council has done numerous investigation into the ground at the Playing Fields and it is suitable for the development of a new leisure centre.
Why close Smethwick Swimming Centre and Langley Swimming Centre?
We do ultimately need to replace the two ageing and uneconomical swimming centres in the area. However, these will remain open until services transfer to the new centre. People who use the centres have told us they want modern facilities and we see this as a golden opportunity to provide the local community with a state-of-the-art centre for the future.