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West Midlands-wide backing for Birmingham Commonwealth Games bid

Also backing for region's bid for Channel 4 headquarters as Andy Street holds first board meeting as mayor

Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games has been officially backed by the wider region and new West Midlands Mayor.

Conservative mayor Andy Street and council leaders from across the region told Birmingham’s bid leader Ian Ward that the city has their support.

The announcement came on the day the Birmingham bid committee officially notified Government of its intention to submit.

Mr Street said: “Everyone agreed that we have to support the Birmingham bid. It will be Birmingham’s name on the bid, but it will very much be on behalf of the region.”

He said that one of the mayor’s jobs is to bring the region together on projects. “It’s an opportunity to present our ingenuity as a region.”

On Birmingham’s chances he added: “ It’s a competition, it’s a bid, but we’ve got brilliant facilities, we’ve got a great economic case - we’ve just got to put that case forward. We’ve entered the race and now we’ve got to win it.”

Birmingham City Council’s Labour deputy leader Ian Ward, who is coordinating the bid, said the city faces possible competition from a joint Liverpool and Manchester submission.

“By working together and pooling resources, we will have the best possible chance of securing the Games in 2022” he said and added that venues outside Birmingham are likely to be part of the bid.

Unofficially, the bid is believed to be considering a new swimming facility in the Black Country, using indoor halls at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry and venues in Staffordshire to make up the bid.

Cllr Ward said that if one of the main considerations for Government, who will decide on a single English bid to go forward, is cost then Birmingham is in pole position with established sporting venues and arenas already, in place.

Durban in South Africa had originally been selected to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, but earlier this year, as a result of financial problems, it was removed.

The UK Government then announced it was seeking English cities to step up and Birmingham and Liverpool, who were already considering bids for 2026, decided to move those plans forward. Cities in Australia, Canada and Malaysia are also considering bids.

Single Channel 4 bid from West Midlands

Karen Bradley MP with Andy Street

The bid to bring Channel 4 to Birmingham has also been boosted with the backing of the region’s council and business leaders.

It comes as the Government is actively consulting on the relocation of Channel 4 from London to the regions.

Three areas across the West Midlands have been considering potential bids, Birmingham City Centre, the UK Central development site near the airport and NEC and Friargate in Coventry.

But now they have agreed to get behind a single bid rather than compete and Birmingham City Centre is the likely front runner.

During his election campaign West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said he would turn over every stone to bring Channel 4 to Birmingham and has already lobbied culture secretary Karen Bradley over the city’s bid.

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