City of Birmingham Stadium
The City of Birmingham Stadium is a proposed multi-purpose stadium in the Saltley area of Birmingham, England, originally for Warwickshire County Cricket Club and Birmingham City F.C., to replace the current St Andrews Stadium. The cricket club cancelled these plans however, and only the football club remains interested. The original proposal was the centrepiece of a larger scheme to create a £300 million sports village on a 60-acre (240,000 m2) site.
The proposed stadium and sports village is to be located on a site currently occupied by Birmingham Wheels in the 'Wheels Adventure Park' of the Saltley area of Birmingham. The site is bounded by several active railway lines, a canal and numerous major roads.
In relation to other areas, the site is near the St Andrews neighbourhood of Bordesley Green which is home to the St Andrews Stadium. The stadium is to the southwest of the development. Small Heath is to the south whilst Nechells is located to the west and Aston to the north. It is 1.1 miles (1.77 kilometres) from Birmingham New Street station in the city centre.
Phase 1 covers the Wheels Adventure Park and will include the stadium within it. In terms of area, it is almost equal to that of Phase 2. Phase 1 would require the least amount of demolition as the land is largely untouched by development. The northern boundary of Phase 1 is determined by the Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford Line which serves the area via the nearby Adderley Park railway station. The western boundary is determined by another railway line and partially by a canal whilst the eastern boundary is determined by a road. Phase 2, to the south, is the separated from Phase 1 via the boundary of land owned by Birmingham Wheels. Within the phase will be a soccer dome, indoor arena, basketball courts, health and fitness centre, Olympic-sized swimming pool and an entertainment complex, which will be attached to the stadium. Some residences and retail space would also be provided.
Phase 2 is the most southerly phase of the development and is a predominantly industrial site. Occupied by many workshops and warehouses, it will require some of the most demolition needed for the project. This part of the sports village would be home to community football pitches, tennis courts, residences, a hotel and large retail space. The southern and eastern boundaries are determined via roads and the small western boundary, via a railway line.
Phase 3 is the smallest phase in terms of area and would be used for the construction of residential properties and park land. Currently, the site is occupied by warehouses and workshops. It is separated through the centre via a road creating two thin strips of land which are bounded to the east by a canal.
The entire 60-acre (240,000 m2) site is contaminated as a result of heavy industry in the past and many of the buildings are derelict. It is believed the cost of decontaminating the land would be at £1 million an acre.
The new stadium will be a multi-purpose 55,000-seater stadium which can host cricket, football, rugby and concerts. It is proposed to include moving tiers of seating. It was planned for a supercasino to be built on site, however, after the council backed a separate bid at the National Exhibition Centre in Solihull which consisted of an 85,000 seater stadium to replace the former Wembley Stadium. Amongst other sites campaigning for the National Stadium were Coventry. However, London remained the preferred location for the Wembley replacement. The bid for the sports village was pulled out by the council and it appeared dead.
The initial designs showed a stadium with an elliptical footprint and a sloping roof. This stadium was proposed to be built on green belt land known as the Meriden Gap, and not on the later chosen Wheels' Adventure Park. When the plans developed into more serious proposals, images of the new proposed stadium showed a stadium with a rectangular footprint and a large external framework. It was the only part of the sports village to have had a detailed design as the other buildings had not had full consideration.
The sports village would include numerous facilities for sports as well as Birmingham's first Olympic size swimming pool, however there are plans for an Olympic size swimming pool to be built at a site in Aston University near the Eastside. As well as this, 9 acres (36,000 m2) of the development could form a new community sports campus, on top of a 200-bed hotel, an outdoor theatre, approximately 2,500 new residential properties, a 170,000 square foot (15,793 m²) entertainment complex and large retail space. An estimated total of 6,000 jobs will be created.
Campaign for a new stadium
Plans for a new stadium were aired as early as 2001 and it gained support from many football managers. Sven-Göran Eriksson gave his support and the then-current chairman of Aston Villa Football Club, Doug Ellis, announced that 47 of England's 92 league club chairmen had written to him backing the stadium. However, Ellis' support was subject to the venue becoming England's new national stadium. It was eventually overlooked for this honour in favour of a re-built Wembley Stadium in London.
It was revealed in late 2004 where the sports village would be located, however, not what the proposal would look like. Immediately, David Gold, chairman of Birmingham City F.C., submitted his support for the stadium. In March 2005, Birmingham City Council had a meeting to seek authority for the City Council to enter into an exclusivity agreement. Those at the meeting decided to implement the plan. In May 2005, an image of the stadium was released however the full plans were not. The council again held a meeting to answer and questions and to ease any concerns people had over the proposed stadium. There was confusion over whether this plans were for a new Birmingham City Football Club stadium or for a stadium for the city in general. Plans for two separate stadiums were even considered; one at the NEC and another on the Birmingham Wheels site. The ambitious plans, designed by Populous, a branch of HOK International, were unveiled in October 2005 after talks between the council and Las Vegas Sands.
In November 2005, a campaign for support for the stadium and super casino on site was launched. An opinion poll revealed that over 80% were in favour and supportive of the project in the area. This came two months after local councillors said they would object the plan on moral and religious grounds.
However on 20 March 2006 it was announced that the move would be unlikely to happen after Birmingham City Council announced plans to back the bid for a rival casino at the National Exhibition Centre, and not the one at the City of Birmingham Stadium. This was partly as a result of a petition handed to the council with 6,000 signatures from people in Saltley and Washwood Heath. This backfired and claims from local councillors in 2005 that 84% of residents were supportive of the proposals. However, it was revealed that the majority of the city were supportive of the proposals. Rumours of the Birmingham City board trying once again to get the backing of the council have been spreading in the press, however nothing has been confirmed at this time.
For twelve months, there was little news of the plans except for Birmingham City Football Club saying there were still in talks with the council over the prospect of the Sports Village and stadium.
The plans are reawakened
One year later, after a period of little news, it was revealed that the late regeneration councillor at Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ken Hardeman (Conservative councillor for Brandwood), was to campaign to investors at the MIPIM show at Cannes, France as part of Team Birmingham in March 2007.
Following the MIPIM show, Ken Hardeman announced that the plans for the stadium were alive and that investors were interested in the stadium. However, there was no mention of the plans for a sports village raising uncertainty over whether they were no longer being assessed. Hardeman also revealed that the council were prepared to give 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land they already own around the Birmingham Wheels site towards the project, creating an 80-acre (320,000 m2) site.
The 55,000-seater stadium would become the fourth largest football stadium in terms of capacity in England, behind Wembley Stadium, Old Trafford and Emirates Stadium. It would be the largest football stadium in the city.
The supercasino which was proposed for the site along with the stadium was to become the first in the country. There had been mixed views over the submission of the bid for permission to build the casino on the site and it faced competition from other locations such as Blackpool, Manchester and The O2 in London with Manchester being the city selected to construct the supercasino.
The stadium would be one of the most expensive developments in the city at an estimated £300 million. This is rivalled by the Bullring Shopping Centre, Snowhill, Gateway Plus, Arena Central and Martineau Galleries.
- Blues chief reveals regeneration dream - Birmingham Mail, 15 March 2006 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Satellite image of the location with phase boundaries
- Scan of newspaper article reporting the bid for the casino
- New super stadium a step closer - Birmingham Mail, 18 May 2007 (Accessed 29 May 2007)
- Design specifications for the stadium
- Birmingham has put in a bid for the National Stadium - Solihull Online (Accessed 29 May 2007)
- Coventry line up stadium shot - BBC News, 24 August 2001 (Accessed 29 May 2007)
- We cannot abandon Wembley now by Ken Livingstone, 14 August 2001 (Accessed 29 May 2007)
- Bird's eye view of the stadium
- Super sports stadium unveiled - BBC Birmingham Sport (Accessed 29 May 2007)
- US athletes to set up camp in Brum - Birmingham Post, 5 March 2007 (Accessed 11 March 2007)
- Masterplan showing the plan view of the sports village
- The facilities at the Birmingham Sports Village
- Eriksson 'backing' Birmingham stadium - BBC News, 3 October 2001 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Revealed - Site for new super stadium - Birmingham Post, 1 December 2004 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Birmingham target super stadium - BBC News, 2 December 2004 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Give Us A Stadium, Gold Tells Brum - The Political Economy of Football, 02/12/2004 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Birmingham City Council: Reports and Decision - City of Birmingham Stadium/Casino Exclusivity Agreement (Accessed 29 May 2007)
- Revealed finally... Brum's £200 million super arena - Birmingham Mail, 26 May 2005 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- ORDINARY MEETING OF BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL - 13 September 2005
- Blues unveil stadium plan - Birmingham Post, 26 October 2005 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Unveiled - the £300m Blues gamble - Birmingham Mail, 26 October 2005 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Campaign to win sports village support - Birmingham Mail, 11 November 2005 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Clubs queue up for a punt on super-casinos - The Guardian Football, 16 November 2005 (Accessed 29 May 2007)
- Setback for Blues casino plan - Birmingham Mail, 28 September 2005 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Blues take on stadium protesters - Birmingham Mail, 9 February 2006 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- 6,000 say no to Blues casino bid - Birmingham Mail, 8 February 2006 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Super casino fear for traders - Birmingham Post, 8 February 2006 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- City majority backs Blues casino bid - Birmingham Mail, 20 March 2006 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Blues still hoping for new stadium - Birmingham Mail, 24 December 2006 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Olympic sports village may be priority for city - Birmingham Post, 17 October 2006 (Accessed 10 March 2007)
- Blues revive bid for new stadium - Birmingham Mail, 9 March 2007 (Accessed 10 March 2007)