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Plans outlined to expand Resorts World Arena

Plans are in the works for Solihull’s Resorts World Arena to increase its capacity by around 6,000 ahead of Birmingham’s staging of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

The arena, which currently has a capacity of 15,600, is scheduled to host events in badminton, boxing, netball, table tennis and weightlifting at the Games. The arena forms part of the National Exhibition Centre and is owned by the NEC Group.

Building.co.uk has reported that Populous has submitted plans for the arena’s expansion to Solihull Council. The expansion would ensure the venue has a capacity of more than 21,000 for the Games, with a new roof set to be central to the plans, along with hospitality facilities, a new concourse and new entrances and exits.

A planning statement reported by the Birmingham Mail said: “The proposed expansion of Resorts World Arena seeks to ensure that all the shortcomings of the existing arena are addressed and that the venue will ultimately be capable of hosting the largest live productions and providing the highest quality user experience for the foreseeable future.”

The venue opened in 1980 and it is hoped the renovation work will improve its “dated” appearance. An NEC Group spokesman told the Birmingham Mail that the improvement plans include new hospitality, food and beverage and merchandise facilities.

Manchester Arena is the UK’s biggest arena with a capacity of 21,000, while The O2 in London has a capacity of 20,000. Last month, Oak View Group confirmed it was bringing forward a planning application for a new arena in Manchester that would be the largest in the UK with a capacity of up to 23,500.

Alexander Stadium will serve as the centrepiece of the 2022 Commonwealth Games and in January Birmingham City Council’s planning committee approved the redevelopment of the venue, which will increase its permanent capacity from 12,700 to 18,000 and hold more than 30,000 fans during the Games.

Other Birmingham 2022 host venues will include Arena Birmingham, Coventry’s Ricoh Arena and the Edgbaston cricket ground.

Image: NEC Group