My views on the new Velindre Cancer hospital
As the Member of the Senedd for Cardiff North I have given careful consideration to constituents’ views on the planning application by Cardiff and Vale Health Board (20/00357/MJR) to build housing on the northern meadows in Whitchurch and I have come to the conclusion that I must oppose the extension of this planning permission.
I have never believed that there should be housing on this land. I opposed proposals to build housing on it in 1995, in 1997, 1998 and in 1999 I spoke out against building housing on the land at a public inquiry.
I have always supported the development of a new cancer hospital and that is still my priority, and I believe it is the priority for the vast majority of my constituents.
One in two of us will need treatment for cancer in our lifetimes. Anyone who has ever needed treatment at or visited Velindre knows that the hardworking staff and very ill patients desperately need a new building. I believe supporting it is the right thing to do.
Having now seen some of Velindre’s vision for the site, I really believe it will be therapeutic for those patients who are desperately sick to be surrounded by nature in a building which incorporates as many natural elements as possible and blends into the landscape. The design ideas I’ve seen would mean a building akin to the light and calm of Maggie’s (the cancer support centre) – it will be poles apart from the concrete high-rise blocks of UHW at the Heath.
I am also reassured that the development team want to make sure the new hospital is part of the community. They want your ideas to inform the design and will be engaging with the community about how the meadows surrounding the hospital can continue to be used. They are even talking about possibly creating a small market garden, linking in with what the land was originally used for – it was part of the old hospital’s farm which fed the patients and provided them with therapeutic activities. It would be great if people of Whitchurch had an opportunity to be able to grow vegetables there once more, in an echo of the past.
I've set out more detail on my views on the Velindre development and the historical context for these in this letter here: NEW VELINDRE.