From world class sporting venue to community legacy.

The Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick, was initially constructed to host one of the largest international sporting events of 2022, The Birmingham Commonwealth Games, but its journey did not end there.

The vision behind the project extended beyond a venue for the games. The objective was to create a lasting legacy for the local community and turn the Aquatics Centre into a vibrant and inclusive facility.

Sandwell Council envisioned a community legacy that would serve the local residents for years to come. The transformation began soon after the games, with the removal of 4,000 spectator seats and introducing additional leisure facilities.

Inclusivity and excellence

Sandwell Council always intended the Aquatics Centre to be more than a leisure facility; it aimed to be inclusive and foster excellence in sports. For the first time, aspiring swimmers and divers in the area found a dedicated centre of excellence where they could train for future competitions without needing to compromise on their living arrangements or travel long distances. This created a nurturing environment for budding athletes, instilling a sense of pride within the community and inspiring future generations.

Sustainability and environmental impact

Sustainability was a central theme throughout the entire project. The Aquatics Centre’s design incorporated impressive environmental credentials, with a solar-powered hot water system that aimed to save 10% compared with typical energy use. To ensure the project adhered to the highest standards of sustainability, Sandwell Council partnered with Lloyds Bank and engaged with the Sustainability School as part of the Lloyds Banking sustainability loan. This financial support facilitates the effective delivery of sustainable projects.

Collaboration for success

The success of the project was also attributed to the close collaboration between the project team, local organisations, and the supply chain. Partnerships with Think Sandwell, Sandwell College, and local schools enabled the creation of work placements and mentoring opportunities to encourage careers in the built environment. Such collaborations not only enriched the project but also contributed to the broader development of the local community.

Achieving Biodiversity Net Gain

Another remarkable achievement was the Aquatics Centre’s contribution to biodiversity. The project’s commitment to sustainability resulted in a biodiversity net gain of around 12%. This meant that the site was left in a more environmentally friendly state than it was before the project began. The transformation of a construction site into a greener space had a positive impact on the local ecosystem, showcasing the project’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

The Sandwell Aquatics Centre is a shining example of converting a world-class sporting venue into a vibrant community leisure facility with a long-lasting legacy. Its inclusive design provides opportunities for athletes and community members alike to pursue their interests in sports, fitness, and wellness. The project’s dedication to sustainability and environmental responsibility exemplifies how large-scale developments can be carried out with a positive impact on the planet.

The strong collaboration between stakeholders and the supply chain demonstrates the value of teamwork in delivering transformative projects. As a catalyst for regeneration in the area, the Sandwell Aquatics Centre continues to leave a profound impact on the community and stands as a testament to the power of vision and collaboration in creating meaningful and enduring legacies.

Collaboration the key to success

Here in the West Midlands were currently experiencing a tremendous renaissance in our local infrastructure. This project and the wider regeneration of the borough of Sandwell will create a lasting legacy for local residents and put Sandwell on the map for its world-class facility.
Every project we deliver has the community at its heart and we’ve been working with our partners to ensure this project provides significant economic and social value from the outset. The result is a landmark facility that will be transform the borough.”
Lisa Cunningham

Lisa Cunningham

Pre-Construction Director, Wates Construction

This has been a wonderful partnership between so many different agencies and our construction partners Wates. This place will have a real legacy for years to come and is already acting as a catalyst for regeneration in the area.”
sandwell council

Sandwell Council’s Director of Regeneration

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