Campaigner opposed to plans for cancer centre on greenfield land breaks into song at council meeting


A CAMPAIGNER opposed to controversial plans to build a new cancer centre on an area of greenfield land in Cardiff broke into song at a council meeting.

Cardiff Council’s planning committee was discussing the already approved plans to build a new Velindre Cancer Centre on land adjacent to the current site in Whitchurch when Tamsin Graves gave a speech.

In her speech, Ms Graves laid out the concerns that she and her fellow campaigners had about the plans before giving the committee a rendition of the hymn, ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’.

Chief among the concerns of campaigners opposed to Velindre University NHS Trust’s plans is that the new centre will be built on a piece of green space known as Northern Meadows.

They say that the development will lead to habitat loss and threaten biodiversity in the area.

On the other hand, the Velindre University NHS Trust argues that the new cancer centre is vitally needed to keep up with the growing demand on cancer services.

At Thursday’s planning committee meeting, Ms Graves said a council report on the plans for the new cancer centre failed to include some of the concerns raised by members of the community.

She said: “These are the lack of a road safety audit and to the wholly inadequate surface, water and drainage strategy.

“These two issues should be of paramount concern to every single one of us here.

“The developer has sadly shown little or no regard for the safety, health and well-being of the community or of the environment to date.

“The constant re-invention of words to gloss over the intended decimation of this site of importance for nature conservation is an insult to planet and people. On your heads be it.”

Before breaking into song, Ms Graves added: “Here are the pasture meadows of Ty Clyd Farm in 1840, still here in 2023.

“Natural, unique, irreplaceable green pastures, providing health to our lungs, protection from cancer and refreshment for our souls.

“The Lord is my Shepherd. He lets me rest in green meadows. Thank you, good shepherd.”

The company which has been selected to design and build the new cancer centre is Acorn

Project director, Richard Coe, said a construction environmental and management plan (CEMP) has been put in place to make sure things like traffic, surface water and environmental concerns are well managed.

In response to Ms Garves’ comments, Mr Coe said: “We have worked very hard on the detail of our construction processes.

“The contractor delivering the works is a very experienced contractor.”

He later added: “The Acorn team has engaged extensively with council officers, CADW and NRW and we have worked with that feedback to develop the final CEMP which is before you today.

“We are confident that it presents a very robust document to ensure that the project will be delivered with minimal impact and disruption to the local area for the shortest period possible.”

A Velindre University NHS Trust spokesperson said: “We welcome the planning decision by Cardiff Council and look forward to continuing our work to develop the new Velindre Cancer Centre.

“The new Velindre Cancer Centre is vital in safeguarding the provision of crucial cancer treatment and care for the 1.5 million people of south Wales over the coming decades.

“It will support the region in improving the quality of care, patient experience and outcomes. The new Velindre Cancer Centre will ensure we keep pace with increasing demand as the number of people referred to us with cancer grows every year.”

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