Construction has started at the Belle Vue Sports Village that will transform another part east Manchester into an internationally recognised destination for sport.
Historically one of the city’s most popular leisure and tourism sites, the creation of Belle Vue Sport Village will revive the area’s standing as a major landmark in the city – with top facilities for both community and elite users.
The development will bring world class significant national centres for both speedway and basketball to Manchester – along with a new National Speedway Academy that will look to develop the next generation of riders.
The development will also see two new 3G artificial grass pitches and a programme of modernisation to the Belle Vue Leisure Centre. The improvements will support a new programme of community rugby league and football, as well as provide St Peter's RC High School with state of the art facilities for curriculum and extra curriculum PE and sport.
The purpose built speedway venue – boasting a 1,842 seat grandstand –will be capable of hosting both national and international race meetings, attracting some of the world’s best riders to east Manchester.
The National Speedway Stadium will be a facility of national and international significance and will provide a new home to historic Belle Vue Aces, who currently share the existing track with greyhound racing.
The National Speedway Academy will also make Manchester a centre of excellence, encouraging grass roots development of new local speedway talent. This will include riding, technical and mechanical skills in both a practical and classroom setting.
The National Basketball Performance Centre will include three high performance basketball courts, including a FIBA standard show court with a capacity for 2,000 seats.
The centre will be home to a number of Basketball England's national teams and will be suitable for training camps as well as international games and tournaments. The centre will also host regional and national Basketball England events, and will be home to a new community programme for players of all ages and abilities.
The centre aims to increase participation in the sport and will provide opportunities for young players with talent to progress through the performance system. .
Once completed, segments of a mosaic designed and created by local group, Gorton Visual Arts, in 2008 will find a permanent home at the National Speedway Stadium.
The mosaic was commissioned as part of an intergenerational project with pupils from Cedar Mount Academy in 2007. The artwork features local scenes from Belle Vue’s heritage – including Belle Vue Aces’ Operations Director, Chris Morton, during his successful riding days.
Cllr Jeff Smith, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: "After months of planning it always a thrill to visit a project at the beginning of construction – especially when it’s as significant a development as this. To welcome two national centres to Manchester at one site is remarkable.
"East Manchester is already an internationally recognised destination for sport and leisure, and Belle Vue Sports Village will only add that reputation. But it will also stand out on its own and help to transform this part of the city."
David Gordon, Chief Executive of Belle Vue Aces, said: "The National Speedway Stadium is a new chapter in the Belle Vue Aces' history and we are absolutely delighted to see the builders now hard at work on the site.
"The enthusiasm and commitment of all parties involved have brought the project to where it is today and we're thrilled to be a part of such a significant development in East Manchester."
Peter Griffiths, England Basketball Facilities Development Manager, said: "We are delighted to be entering into a fantastic partnership with Manchester City Council and join together to invest in this exciting project that will provide our elite athletes and national teams with an international standard facility for training and games. The new facility will also provide weekly playing opportunities for the local community at all levels of the game and we look forward to seeing participation in Manchester continue to grow."
Charles Johnston, Sport England Property Director, said: "We’re pleased to be supporting Manchester City Council and England Basketball to develop a National Basketball Centre at the Belle Vue Sport Village. The new facility will provide a vibrant hub for grassroots basketball and help develop the next generation of talented athletes."
Danny Murray, ISG’s Northern regional managing director, added: "This highly-anticipated development marks a major investment by the council into outstanding new sporting facilities in East Manchester. Procured through the North West Construction Hub (NWCH), the scheme is rooted in the principles of maximising efficiencies and driving out waste from the construction process. ISG is also committed to providing community skills and training legacy, as well as fully utilising the expertise of the regional supply chain to deliver this keynote regeneration project."
For more information visit www.manchester.gov.uk/bellevue