Work to regenerate the former Erdington Baths into a community and enterprise hub is expected to begin later this year, following confirmation of a renewed funding agreement with the West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street.

The confirmation comes off the back of work over 5 years jointly between Erdington Councillors Robert Alden and Gareth Moore, Witton Lodge Community Association, and Andy Street, which has secured backing from Birmingham City Council. The £4 million project will see the Erdington Heritage asset, a century-old former public baths 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.

The scheme was originally conceived from conversations between West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, Erdington Councillors Robert Alden and Gareth Moore and Witton Lodge Community Association. Cllr. Alden (Erdington, Conservative) said "When the Council closed the building residents were clear they wanted to see this key heritage building retained and so Cllr Gareth Moore and I have been working hard to try and find a solution.

“Over the last 5 years Witton Lodge Community Assocation have been brilliant partners to work with on the project, backed by the West Midlands Mayor and some excellent Council officers in the planning and regeneration team. They have all stuck with the vision we set out together 5 years ago on how to both save this building and also deliver increased opportunity for people locally to set up their own businesses."

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Birmingham City Council, the building owners, have now each set aside £2m for the work. Currently a long-term lease is being finalised with Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA) from the Council, to run the new Erdington Enterprise and Entrepreneur Hub, or E3 Hub, in the former baths on Mason Road. Now the partners have made the final agreement needed to progress the project, with a view to begin work on site this year.

Erdington Baths have stood empty since they were closed in 2014 by the City Council, when the Council choose to build a new pool and leisure centre on a nearby car park instead of refurbishing the former baths. 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. This will be followed by a second phase which will look to add a restaurant/café, creche and smaller offices.

The fully occupied hub will support up to 80 local jobs and help provide support to local businesses. 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.” 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.” Cllr. Gareth Moore (Erdington, Conservative) "a big thank you to all the partners and officers involved in this scheme for sticking with it over the last 5 years, as the funding has been secured.

“A particular thank you to the excellent work by Witton Lodge Community Association team who have underpinned the project from the very start. The faith they have shown in the plan to deliver for Erdington has shown once again the benefit of community focused partners like themselves involved. It will be great to see this work beginning later this year to deliver a new life for the former Erdington Baths for our area."

Cllr. Alden added "securing investment to regenerate Erdington High Street has been a key priority or us and so it is great to have been able to help get this project over the line, however residents can rest assured we will continue to be looking to do all we can to now secure further investment into our other plans for further sites along the High Street." The WMCA said "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".