Meeting with Velindre Hospital Trust over Cancer Centre development plans

May 02, 2017 at 4:31 PM

Last week I met a representative of Velindre Hospital Trust (on April 28) and raised the points made to me by residents about the pre planning application for the Velindre Hospital development which has been submitted.

Below is some of the information I have gathered in response to questions raised. It is an important major development which has consequences for us all in terms of health, changes to the environment, traffic, access to the countryside etc and I hope there will now be a longer period to consider all the issues.

I have formally asked for an extension of the pre planning application consultation until after the General Election.

I know many residents have felt they cannot have a proper consultation while electioneering is ongoing for the local council elections and now for the General Election. I am sympathetic to this point of view and am hopeful that it will be granted.

It is important to remember that what is happening now is the pre planning stage of the application which takes place before an actual planning application is submitted.

This is a new process which has been introduced by the Welsh Government in order to give a longer time and greater consideration to what local residents say about the application. When the actual planning application is submitted there will usually be 13 weeks for more consultation before a decision is made by the planning committee of the local authority. This new process is for local residents to be made aware at the earliest opportunity of the plans.

There is already existing outline planning consent for up to 150 houses on the northern meadows. I opposed housing development there on a number of occasions but was unsuccessful and outline planning permission was given. Friends of Forest Farm who opposed housing on the site see the hospital as a less damaging option. The choice is not 'no development' but hospital or houses.

A number of residents have mentioned the importance of consulting Coryton School because of its position and use of the nature reserve. I have asked Velindre planning team to do that, I think it is important that young people's views are taken into account and this is a key component of the Future Generations and Wellbeing Act.

The main access to the hospital will be from Coryton roundabout via Asda.

This will decrease traffic on Pendwyallt Road and Park Road as two thirds of Velindre patients are from outside Cardiff and are likely to use the motorway or A470 if coming by car or ambulance from the West, East or from the Valleys. An emergency access will be built at the bottom of the Hollybush Estate. The existing Velindre hospital on Velindre Road has an emergency access as well and since 2004 has never been used. Emergency access is intended for rare cases of fire or a major incident at Coryton roundabout for example. It is not intended for ambulance access.

Many people have asked why the development cannot be at Whitchurch Hospital. This hospital is a listed building and has been deemed unsuitable for patients. Other buildings in the grounds are also listed, as is the chapel. The sporting facilities will remain and will be managed by the Council. Basically there is not enough room. Because it is a listed building it is not suitable for the development of a new modern cancer facility.

The building of a new hospital is part of a wider plan to transform cancer services. Many more people will be treated at home and there will be satellite Velindre facilities set up in neighbouring hospitals so that patients will be able to have radiotherapy treatment nearer to their homes. It is therefore unlikely that the number of inpatients a the new 'Velindre' will increase substantially – but the treatment facilities will increase.

It is important that there are as many opportunities as possible to discuss the plan at this stage. I have already knocked doors in the area to ascertain residents' views. 

There will be a meeting at Oak House on the Hollybush Estate on 9 May ( to be confirmed). (I will post on Twitter and Facebook about this when it is confirmed).

I have agreed to be on the panel. There will be an opportunity to discuss the environmental impact on the local area and access for local people which so far has been the major issue raised with me. Velindre believes that patients will benefit from the natural surroundings, which can be an aid to recovery but also recognises the need for local people to benefit from this green space too and hope these prove to be mutually compatible.