NEWpictures have been revealed for what a proposed cancer hospital in north Cardiff could look like as a public consultation on the design begins.
The new Velindre Cancer Centre will be built on the Northern Meadows in Whitchurch with construction expected to begin in March 2023.
Building work will take about two years and the hospital is likely to open in summer 2025.
After the Welsh Government signed off the outline business case for the hospital in March the next stage is a major public consultation to inform the final design of the buildings.
David Powell, project director for Velindre, said: “The design process is a key part of the next stage for the project and gathering the thoughts of our patients, their families, carers, staff and community is a critical part of that process.
“Without it we may have an updated reference design but we would not have the ability to build the heart into the cancer centre. We want to talk to as many partners and interested parties as possible so that the project team can listen and learn from the community.”
Velindre has revealed a new ‘reference design’ showing more detail than previously about how the hospital would look. Together with public comments from the consultation this will go to contractors bidding to work on the final design of the hospital.
The consultation will run for about a month and then the tendering process, which will take about a year, will begin. In the meantime enabling works to prepare the site will likely begin this autumn.
Community benefits are a key part of the project and the consultation is asking the public what this should look like. Possible examples include community gardens, work experience placements and apprenticeships, and using local supply chains to support the economy.
Sustainable construction methods and materials will be used in the hospital, which is aiming to be “the greenest hospital in the UK”, with renewable energy generated on site and efforts to improve biodiversity across the site.
Biodiversity of the project is a contentious issue as the hospital will be built on meadows popular with walkers and very close to a nature reserve. Campaigners have raised concerns about the impact on biodiversity and the many trees likely to be cut down during building.
Local campaigners Save the Northern Meadows, who want the hospital built elsewhere, said they boycotted the first of this round of consultation events, held on Thursday, June 17. Instead they demonstrated outside the consultation venue.
A spokesman for the campaign said: “It is too little too late. Real, meaningful consultation should have been undertaken years ago.
“The Northern Meadows are a haven for wildlife, a crucial part of the area’s biodiversity, have been used by the community for decades, and have been a lifeline to thousands of local people throughout the pandemic while also offering some protection from the pollution of the M4, A470, and Coryton Interchange, and decreasing the risk of flooding.”
The consultation held on Thursday was one of the first in-person events to be held since the start of the pandemic. Lockdown and social distancing meant much of the public engagement has had to be held remotely and online.
A newly-launched survey is seeking views for what NHS staff, local residents, patients, and visitors think the final designs should look like as well as their priorities on how the hospital can be built sustainably.
Velindre is also hosting three online consultation events over the next few weeks. They will take place on Monday, June 28, Friday, July 2, and Thursday, July 8. People interested in attending should email Velindre.email@example.com for more information on how to join.
Mr Powell said: “The project not only aspires to be the greenest hospital in the UK but we want to ensure that it is an inspiring workplace for our dedicated, professional staff to thrive as well as becoming a focal point for international research and be a place that benefits the local community.
“It is the amazing work of Velindre that drives this project and why we are encouraging everyone to add their voice to the design process so that we can deliver a new cancer centre that we can all be proud of and is a state-of-the-art facility which is able to treat more people and help them to live longer.”