Birmingham transformation nears completion ahead of Commonwealth Games

July sees a host of festivals and events across Birmingham as we eagerly await the start of the Commonwealth Games later this month.
July 6, 2022
Based in the heart of the action on Colmore Row in the city, we have born witness to the fantastic transformation of the city in recent years and have already seen how the Commonwealth Games has positively impacted the businesses and people who live and work here.

The Games, which run from 28 July to 8 August, will see over 6,200 athletes from 71 countries across the Commonwealth descend on Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, as they compete in over 250 events across 15 competition venues.

Preparations for the event, which first took place in 1930 to unite members of the commonwealth and its territories, have been four years in the making (instead of the usual 7).

To ensure the best possible experience by the 1 million visitors that the Games is expected to attract, Birmingham City Council and Retail and Colmore Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have delivered a series of multi-million-pound infrastructure and public realm projects.

The aim? To create an attractive, welcoming and safe environment to visit.

The city has been transformed through significant public realm improvement projects as well as the acquisition of land and buildings to develop the infrastructure needed to deliver the games. This included the compulsory acquisition of National Express’ Perry Barr bus depot in the city, which we acted for the bus operator on.

Initially intended for redevelopment as the Commonwealth Games’ athletes’ village, the site will now form an important part of the Games’ legacy, delivering a significant residential housing project to meet the city’s future needs.

Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, which will host both the opening and closing ceremonies, has seen a £72 million redevelopment, including the installation of two temporary transport malls and new roads and pavements will be installed to connect two new entrances from Church Road to the newly built Athletes’ Route, meanwhile the famous Perry Barr flyover has also been removed.

Meanwhile at Victoria Square, a £25 million public realm improvement programme has been delivered where Birmingham City Council, alongside Retail and Colmore Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), have renewed some 40,000 sq m of public realm.

All the landscaping in the Square has been transformed the water feature has been replaced and remodelled, with repairs undertaken across the area to create a much more modern and welcoming space for people to congregate in.

Security has been increased and pedestrian access has been enhanced, particularly around the Colmore business district, to improve the walking experience and pedestrian safety as people travel along some of the Games’ major designated walking routes.

Pedestrianising the city in this way is not only good for the Games, it creates a lasting legacy for the city, and is already being enjoyed by the businesses based in and around the area.

Now, with less than 30 days to go, the hoardings and scaffolding are starting to come down and there is a real sense of excitement in the city as the events and festivals leading up to the Games, begin.

The streets are looking visibly cleaner, restaurants and bars are making the most of relaxed planning restrictions to add outdoor seating, creating a truly cosmopolitan feel, and we’re seeing regular and efficient working of the city’s transport services.

Together, this is already translating into increased footfall in the city, which is expected to welcome over 1 million people during the games.

If Manchester 2002 is anything to go by, the economic, social and cultural ripple effects of the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be felt in Birmingham and across the West Midlands for some time.

Based on the experiences of previous host cities, the Commonwealth Games 2022 is anticipated to bring a £1 billion boost to Birmingham and the wider region, as well as driving future investment here, boosting employment with 4,526 jobs and 950 jobs annually thereafter.

We are astounded by the transformation of the city and its environs, which have been completely transformed to create a modern, cosmopolitan second city that we  continue to be proud to be part of – and there is more to come.

Together with the redevelopment of Millennium Point and the area surrounding HS2 which will create a new gateway into the city, and the economic benefits of HS2, there is much to look forward to.

In the meantime, we are enjoying the growing sense of community, excitement and pride in our second city ahead of the games, look forward to witnessing its legacy in our city and its communities for many years to come.

The information contained in this blog and any opinions expressed or advice given, is authored by Vail Williams LLP and is not official Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games content.

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