International

Plan for £500m athletes’ village at 2020 Commonwealth Games abandoned

Artist's impression (CGI) view of the athletes village for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Organisers of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have abandoned plans for an athletes’ village.

Instead, student accommodation at the universities of Birmingham and Warwick will be used to house competitors, as well as the National Exhibition Centre.

The village in the Perry Barr area was set to cost £500m.

The decision to move away from a new single-site has been blamed on delays in construction due to Covid-19.

New housing and transport links will still be built, but with under two years to go until the £778m event, the decision will be seen as a major setback.

Birmingham City Council had pledged to build accommodation for up to 6,500 athletes for the 2022 games, under its host city contract.

But worries about the cost of the village have been on the horizon for a while.

In March the city council admitted it was set to rise by £91.8m, with increased demand for building workers helping to tip the cost over the £496m budget.

At the time, Ian Ward, leader of the Labour-run council, said the importance of the project for the 2022 Games and the city “cannot be underestimated”.

“These are challenging times for all of us,” said Ian Reid, the CEO of Birmingham 2022.

“We recognise that this new model is a move away from the historic norm and we are grateful for the support shown by our partners across the Commonwealth Games Associations.

“This is the sensible and pragmatic thing to do for the Games, the athletes and for the people of Birmingham.”

Dame Louise Martin, president of the Commonwealth Games Foundation, added: “We remain confident Birmingham 2022 will be delivered on time and on budget – offering a world-class Games experience for athletes, fans and all the businesses and communities that look to benefit from this extraordinary event.”

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