Sod cutting celebrates the start of work on new Midlands Boat Station to create a modern home for Sea Cadets
Last week a sod-cutting ceremony took place to celebrate the commencement of work on the new Midlands Boat Station.
Located on the banks of Edgbaston Reservoir, the new Midlands Boat Station will create a modern facility for the Birmingham Vernon Sea Cadets Unit, along with residential opportunities for other sea cadets and local young people.
The state-of-the-art facility will transform the provision of watersports training including dinghy sailing, rowing, paddlesports, powerboating and windsurfing for 1,500 cadets across the Midlands.
“We envision a premium venue for training, education, and water sports, bringing huge benefits to the entire community,” said Sea Cadets CEO, Martin Coles CBE. “The new boat station will be a welcoming place for the younger generation to gain essential life skills. The facility will also provide an extraordinary waterside venue for community groups to host their events.”
By becoming the home for the local Birmingham Vernon Sea Cadets, the base will allow recruits to receive training in various subjects such as first aid, navigation, catering, leadership and marine engineering.
Addressing the long-standing lack of accessible waterside facilities in the Midlands, Howard Eeles, the Midlands Boat Station Manager, said: “This issue affects some 1,500 sea cadets in the region. We have 37 Sea Cadets units within a 90-minute radius of this location, who have been grappling with extended commutes for water-based training. Thankfully, those days will soon be behind us.”
The Birmingham Vernon Sea Cadets have been a part of the Ladywood community since 1947 and this new boat station will be the springboard for the next generation of sea cadets.
The young people who are part of Sea Cadets are excited about the building of their new, first-rate facility. “The new boat station will provide an upgraded, relaxed environment where I can safely enjoy time with my friends,” said 13-year-old Mei.
Alongside the benefits for the unit, the building will also provide a stunning new venue for the use of community groups, schools and other local charities. Overall, the new facility could benefit the 340,000 young people who live locally to the reservoir, making it an excellent new feature in the community.
Ridge and Partners LLP is acting as Employer’s Agent and delivering Cost Management and Health and Safety Consultancy services. The team at Ridge has been instrumental in progressing the scheme to site and liaising between the client and contractor to ensure the needs of the Sea Cadets and local community are met.
The new building is set to replace that old boat station which has already been demolished, with the cadets operating out of a temporary building for the duration of construction works.
Local contractor, Speller Metcalfe, will be completing the construction, and are already on site working to prepare the ground for the upcoming works.
Rob Lashford, divisional director at Speller Metcalfe said: “We’re delighted to begin work on the new Midlands Boat Station as we know how much of an impact this new facility will have on the training and teaching Sea Cadets receive. As a local contractor, we know how much of a positive impact this new building will have on the local community.”
In order to maximise the energy efficiency of the station, photovoltaic panels have been incorporated into the design, demonstrating Sea Cadet’s and Speller Metcalfe’s commitment to sustainable construction.
Once complete, the new boat station will support 500 sea cadets in Birmingham, provide over 1,000 residential places for young people and offer over 30,000 boating and activity sessions.
Designed by Troyka Associates, the new facility will be open for use in Autumn 2024.