Birmingham has been chosen as the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with plans already underway for a vast new development bringing 3,000 new homes to the area after the event.
For the first time since Manchester hosted the Games 16 years ago, England will be home to the international multi-sport competition, after Birmingham won the bidding process last year. With the cost of hosting expected to reach around £750m, the government has agreed to cover £560m of the bill, while a significant amount of the shortfall will be made up by the introduction of a hotel tax where visitors pay an additional £2 a night to stay in the city.
The City Council and West Midlands Combined authority have also applied for £189m of funding from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to go towards the development of the Perry Barr athlete’s village, which is expected to house around 6,500 athletes and officials during the Games. The plan is to then convert the village’s accommodation, made up of apartments and townhouses, into properties for sale and rent once the event has finished.
Rejuvenating the area
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Ian Ward who runs the Labour-run council said: “Our proposal to bring the Games to Birmingham had a number of key strengths, including our outstanding track record of staging major sporting events, and having almost all of the competition venues in place.
“The development of the Village is therefore the largest new-build element of the Games – and will help rejuvenate Perry Barr and the wider surrounding area, meaning there will be a meaningful and lasting legacy for the people of Birmingham, in particular those living near the heart of the action in 2022.
“We have a desperate need for high-quality housing in the city and it would have been much trickier to meet that demand if we had not been successful in our bid to host the Games.”
New jobs and infrastructure
According to Ward, around 4,526 new jobs will be created in the West Midlands in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games, and 950 new jobs annually will be created in the following years as a result of the extra development in the area.
The local train station is expected to get a major upgrade ahead of 2022, and the roads, public spaces and bus routes will also see added investment, which will provide a huge boost to the whole area. Many of the events will be held in the Alexander Stadium, which will see a facelift to increase capacity from 12,500 seats to 40,000 for the Games, while the existing Perry Park and Walsall Road Allotments will be protected.
From the new housing development at Perry Barr, it is expected that some of the properties will be made available as social and affordable housing, which again will benefit the area and aid the government’s housebuilding targets.