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Conversion of historic former Birmingham swimming baths into community enterprise hub

Published: Wednesday 20 Mar 2024

Work to regenerate the former Erdington Baths into a community and enterprise hub is expected to begin later this year.

The £4 million project will see the century-old building sensitively restored and renovated with a focus on supporting entrepreneurs and developing new and growing businesses in the area, as well as providing a vibrant hub for the community.

Birmingham City Council, which owns the building, and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) have set aside £2m each for the work.  A lease is being arranged with the Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA) to run the new Erdington Enterprise and Entrepreneur Hub, or E3 Hub, in the Mason Road building.

Now the partners have renewed their agreement to progress the project, with a view to begin work on site this year.

Erdington Baths, which are almost a century old, have stood empty since they were closed in 2014, when they were replaced with a modern pool and leisure centre nearby.

The first phase of the multi-million-pound regeneration will see the main reception area and pool hall converted into a co-working space, studio pods, events and meeting rooms, and the roof restored. Other essential repairs will also be completed. A second phase, to follow, will add a restaurant/café, creche and smaller offices. Once fully occupied the hub will create and support up to 80 local jobs.

Design image for Erdington Enterprise and Entrepreneur Hub

Design image for Erdington Enterprise and Entrepreneur Hub

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “After laying empty and neglected for a decade, this investment will breathe new life into this historic building– re-establishing it as a community hub in the centre of Erdington.

“This will not only create new jobs and opportunities for local people but preserve this heritage building for future generations under the stewardship of the Witton Lodge Community Association.

“By putting the right partnerships and funding in place and with the backing of a creative community we can protect and restore many of our historic buildings. I look forward to seeing this important piece of local heritage being well used and much loved once again by the people of Erdington.”

Birmingham City Council leader Cllr John Cotton said: "Birmingham City Council is delighted to be working with Witton Lodge Community Association on this fantastic project and it's great to now have regional backing.

"The Erdington Enterprise and Entrepreneur Hub will once again put this historic building at the very heart of Erdington life, bringing the community together, supporting local businesses and improving accessibility to wider employment opportunities for the local residents."

Afzal Hussain, Chief Officer of Witton Lodge Community Association, said: “We’re delighted with this investment from the WMCA. Combined with the funding from the Council it will help us transform this much-loved but neglected building into a thriving community and enterprise hub in the heart of Erdington.

“With a dedicated facility and onsite support, we will be able to nurture local talent and unleash the potential of our budding entrepreneurs and social enterprises.”

The project is the latest in a series of WMCA investments, using funds secured from Government, to provide new homes, jobs and commercial spaces on urban, brownfield sites, helping to support the region’s economic growth.

Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and leader of Solihull Council added: “While much of our investment is geared towards clearing and regenerating brownfield sites for housing or commercial development, this project shows how investment can be used to regenerate our historical assets and Erdington Baths is not the only example of this.

“We have taken similar steps to retain other historic buildings such as Globe House in Walsall town centre and the Citadel in Birmingham’s Corporation Street These are buildings which add to the character of an area so it’s vital they are retained for future generations to enjoy.”

Photo of the disused Erdington Baths as it stands

The disused Erdington Baths

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