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Review of 2016 - December: £55m sport centre delayed, overhaul for art gallery and German bierkeller in Broad Street

The University of Birmingham's new swimming pool and sport centre was beset by even more delays during December while a city art gallery was poised for a major renovation programme

More delays to the University of Birmingham's new £55m sport centre were announced in December

More delays hit University of Birmingham's £55m sports centre opening

The new £55 million swimming pool and sports centre at the University of Birmingham was hit by yet more delays during December.

In what has become a farcical situation, the Edgbaston institute was forced to release more announcements on the problems surrounding the opening of the new leisure facility.

The university and its contractor Interserve had said the new sports centre would open on January 9 - itself the third postponement of 2016 - but it was forced to delay the opening again with no indication now of a likely launch date.

When it eventually opens, the sports centre will have Birmingham's only 50-metre pool, a 900-seat sports arena, squash courts, dance studios and a gym.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to undergo major overhaul

Birmingham's historic Museum and Art Gallery is set for a major overhaul.

New displays, exhibitions and facilities, as well as improved access, were all being promised this month following an agreement between the city council and the Birmingham Museums Trust.

It came after months of negotiations on a new long lease on the historic Chamberlain Square building.

As well as ending a period of uncertainty, the long lease enables the trust to tap into major arts and heritage funds and grants.

Bierkeller ready to open in former Brannigans nightclub

The former home of Brannigans nightclub, in Birmingham's Broad Street, finally reopened as a German-themed 'bierkeller'.

Bar operator Burning Night Group ploughed more than £2 million into the revamp of the derelict venue to create a new 'Bierkeller Entertainment Complex'.

The group already owns bierkeller sites in Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester and its latest venue has created around 300 full- and part-time jobs.

The two-level complex houses three, separately themed bars - Around the World Bar & Lounge, Bavarian Bierkeller and Shooters Sports Bar.

New future for Birmingham's Axis building unveiled

New designs were revealed to replace a landmark Birmingham city centre building with a mixed-use development.

London-based property developer and land owner London and Continental Railways unveiled its initial proposals in September to carry out a wholesale regeneration of the ten-storey Axis building and its car park next to the Mailbox.

Detailed plans were then lodged with Birmingham City Council in December to build a nine-storey office block.

Once this has finished, the incumbent 1970s building will be demolished to allow Axis tenants to stay in situ, with some expected to move into the new facility.

Arts and culture funding slashed by £24 million in the West Midlands

Spending on culture, heritage and the arts had been slashed by £24 million since 2010 across the West Midlands, it emerged this month.

The region had suffered the biggest fall in funding in the country, according to figures published by Black Country MP Tom Watson, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Spending was cut by local authorities but Labour pointed out this was as a result of huge cuts in the grants they received from central government.

Birmingham City Council had previously revealed plans to make £250 million of savings over the next four years, meaning less money for museums, art galleries, theatres and community art and culture organisations.

Aldi strikes back with fresh plans for controversial new Birmingham store

Discount retailer Aldi made a second bid to open a new store on the edge of Birmingham, four months after a previous planning application fell flat.

The German group revised its designs for a shop off Queslett Road in Great Barr, next to a major Asda supermarket.

A previous application for the site on Old Horns Crescent was withdrawn by the company after a planning report condemned it as poorly designed, saying it could cause major traffic problems and would be built on valuable green space.

Undeterred, Aldi submitted a fresh planning application in December which it claimed dealt with many of the objections from the council's planning department.

Birmingham to get UK's first of a new breed of wind turbine

A revolutionary vertical wind turbine, the first of its kind in the UK, will be put up at a new green energy complex in Tyseley.

The energy-generating turbine is smaller, casts less of a moving shadow and makes much less noise than a traditional windmill-like turbine.

Its vertical blades are also less likely to hit passing birds.

Two of the 60-foot turbines are to be installed as part of a major new green energy park on a former industrial site, Webster and Horsfall, in Tyseley.

M42 upgrade plans at Birmingham Airport junction

One of the West Midlands' most notorious motorway junctions is to undergo a programme of upgrade works in a bid to cut congestion.

Junction six of the M42 serves Birmingham Airport, the NEC complex, which includes Resorts World and Genting Arena, and the National Motorcycle Museum as well as connecting to the A45 Coventry Road.

The already busy area will also serve a new station being built for the high-speed rail line HS2 which will run between Birmingham and London from 2026.

Highways England launched a public consultation in December which outlined three different options for the roadworks.

Review of 2016 - January

Review of 2016 - February

Review of 2016 - March

Review of 2016 - April

Review of 2016 - May

Review of 2016 - June

Review of 2016 - July

Review of 2016 - August

Review of 2016 - September

Review of 2016 - October

Review of 2016 - November

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