Plans to build a new athletes’ village for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have been abandoned due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic - but regeneration of the Perry Barr area will still go ahead.
Designs for the athletes’ village, originally planned to host 6,500 athletes and officials, were first unveiled in August 2018.
But organisers of Birmingham 2022 have now announced athletes and officials will instead be housed in three campus villages at The University of Birmingham, The University of Warwick and The NEC Hotel Campus.
The new campus model will see 1,600 athletes and officials housed at the NEC Hotel Campus, 1,900 at The University of Warwick, and the principal village with 2,800 at The University of Birmingham.
The decision to move away from the single site athletes’ village in the Perry Barr area of the city has been made by the Games Partnership with just under two years to go, after reviewing the impact of the global health pandemic.
It follows an assessment by the project delivery team, who has been working with the construction supply chain, as well as independent experts, on how they could de-risk Games delivery.
With a shorter than normal timeframe for delivery of the Birmingham 2022 Games, the new build accommodation site was under continued review from the outset, with expert consultation throughout and, say organisers, had very little scope to withstand the impact Covid-19 has had on construction.
The Perry Barr Regeneration Scheme, with new housing and transport infrastructure, will still be delivered. The council-led residential scheme has been accelerated due to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and has been made possible with additional investment from central government.
The new three-site campus model for Birmingham 2022 athlete accommodation will be delivered within the overall games budget of £778m, with the games remaining on track to be delivered on time and on budget.
The decision to move to three campus villages across the west midlands has the support of athlete representatives and Commonwealth Games associations across the world who have been told of the new plans.
Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022, said: "These are challenging times for all of us and delivering a major multi sports event during this period has meant we have needed to collaborate effectively, be pragmatic to change, and remain realistic about the challenges we face.
"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.
"Birmingham and the west midlands is extremely fortunate to have superb alternate facilities and we are making this decision now, with two years to go, to de-risk the project, ensure delivery for athletes and teams and secure the legacy of new housing and transport infrastructure in Perry Barr.
"This is the sensible and pragmatic thing to do for the games, the athletes and for the people of Birmingham. It enables Birmingham City Council to focus on the delivery of the Perry Barr Regeneration Scheme and gives us enough time to plan essential games services like transport and security. Furthermore, it offers athletes and teams the assurance of a warm welcome and a superb games experience in their homes-from-home across the west midlands."
Dame Louise Martin, president of the CGF, said: "After detailed consultation and planning across the Birmingham 2022 Delivery Partnership, there was unanimous agreement and support for this new village option that will see athletes housed in accommodation with world-class facilities in three campus villages across the west midlands.
"We believe this is a positive solution that will be supported by our 71 nations and territories while plans for similar multiple campus village models are becoming a viable option for future Commonwealth Games to ensure greater affordability and access to the future hosting ambitions of cities.”