Perspectives

Creating a lasting legacy from sporting infrastructure

Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward first announced his intention to host the Commonwealth Games 15 years ago. Now Birmingham has secured the 2022 event, councilor Ward has set the city the lofty ambition of hosting the best Commonwealth Games ever.

In addition to that bold aspiration we also need to make sure the games create the greatest possible legacy for Birmingham, the West Midlands, British sport and specifically UK Athletics.

As all eyes turned to Australia for the opening of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it is estimated that more than two billion people saw the new £80m stadium in the Gold Coast, which afterwards will become the home of the Gold Coast Suns Aussie Rules side.

Through Mace’s experience of delivering the Aquatics Centre and the stadium for the London 2012 Olympics, the transformation of Hampden Park for the 2014 Commonwealth Games as well as the City of Manchester Stadium for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, we know that first and foremost every sporting venue needs to provide a lasting legacy for the local people who share their community with the stadium.

Venues being commissioned for the 2022 Commonwealth Games must be created with their after-life in mind, once they have finished hosting 11 days of world class sport. One of the keys to that is designing and delivering venues which incorporate facilities the community can themselves use, once they have been inspired by watching the sporting action unfold on their doorstep. 

Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward first announced his intention to host the Commonwealth Games 15 years ago. Now Birmingham has secured the 2022 event, councilor Ward has set the city the lofty ambition of hosting the best Commonwealth Games ever.

In addition to that bold aspiration we also need to make sure the games create the greatest possible legacy for Birmingham, the West Midlands, British sport and specifically UK Athletics.

As all eyes turned to Australia for the opening of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it is estimated that more than two billion people saw the new £80m stadium in the Gold Coast, which afterwards will become the home of the Gold Coast Suns Aussie Rules side.

Through Mace’s experience of delivering the Aquatics Centre and the stadium for the London 2012 Olympics, the transformation of Hampden Park for the 2014 Commonwealth Games as well as the City of Manchester Stadium for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, we know that first and foremost every sporting venue needs to provide a lasting legacy for the local people who share their community with the stadium.

Venues being commissioned for the 2022 Commonwealth Games must be created with their after-life in mind, once they have finished hosting 11 days of world class sport. One of the keys to that is designing and delivering venues which incorporate facilities the community can themselves use, once they have been inspired by watching the sporting action unfold on their doorstep. 

We know from our work transforming leisure facilities across England that high-quality facilities need to be put in place to drive footfall. We’ve seen huge success when the right facilities are introduced; including doubling the number of visitors at certain sites.

Not only does this create a sporting and community legacy but also an economic one. The 20 leisure centres we’ve delivered over the past 12 years are not only generating £16m of additional income for local authorities each year, but they are estimated to have saved the NHS around £115m over that time with a healthier population making fewer hospital visits.

As a city and a region, we all need to embrace Ian Ward’s ambition and enthusiasm for the games. In addition to delivering the greatest ever Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022 must create the greatest possible legacy for the local community and equip the Alexander Stadium so that it provides a springboard from which we can usher in a new golden era for UK athletics.
 
This article was originally published Infrastructure Intelligence 

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Simon Dale Business Unit Director, Central and South West UK

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