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Velindre urged to change route of emergency access road through housing estate

Velindre is being urged to change the route of a planned emergency access road which would run through a housing estate.

Building work on the new Velindre Cancer Centre, in north Cardiff, is set to begin in March 2023.

Three new roads will lead to the new hospital: a main route from the northwest, a temporary route for construction vehicles from the south, and an emergency access road from the east.

But local politicians have now joined campaigners in raising concerns about the emergency access road, calling on Velindre to rethink its plans. The trust is now “looking at alternatives”.

After meeting with residents on the estate last week, Julie Morgan, MS for Cardiff North, and Anna McMorrin, MP for Cardiff North, plan to write to the NHS trust urging bosses to change the route and avoid the Hollybush estate.

Ms Morgan said: “Residents clearly expressed concerns to Velindre about the planned emergency access route for the new Cancer Centre, which will go directly though the Hollybush estate.

“Although we understand this would only be used in a genuine emergency, the planned route passes very close by a residential block for older people, which we feel is not acceptable.

“There are also concerns from residents about the access route impacting on pedestrians within the Hollybush estate, particularly children walking to and from Coryton Primary School.

“We are asking for the route to be changed because of this, and are calling on Velindre to look again at this issue.”

The road would run across a newly built bridge over a disused railway cutting popular with walkers, joining the Hollybush estate road by the Sycamore House flats and Poplar House elderly accommodation. Coryton Primary School is also very close to the planned route.

Red flags marked ‘destruction zone’ currently mark the land on the estate where the new road would be built, while a large white flag hangs on trees in the railway cutting to mark where the bridge will be. Several trees would need to be chopped down to make way.

Ms McMorrin said: “It’s clear that the proposed access route is too close to people’s homes and will have a real detrimental impact on local residents.

“We’re calling for this emergency access route to be scrapped from Velindre’s plans and we’ll continue to press them to take action on this and other issues raised by the Hollybush estate residents.”

Velindre is “actively looking” at different routes for the emergency access road. A new public consultation was also recently launched to inform the final design of the new hospital.

A Velindre spokesman said: “We are thankful to Julie Morgan MS and Anna McMorrin MP for arranging the meeting with some of the Hollybush estate residents earlier this month and thankful for the time spent with them.

“Velindre University NHS Trust remains committed to listening and working with the community as we progress to the next phase of the new Velindre Cancer Centre project.

“We have heard the concerns raised about the emergency access road and are actively looking at alternative options. We will continue to keep all interested parties up to date on our plans.”

But the two other roads to the new site are also a cause for concern, according to campaigners Save the Northern Meadows, who want the hospital built elsewhere.

The main route will run from the Coryton Interchange, past the Asda supermarket, and across another proposed bridge over the railway cutting. Meanwhile a temporary construction route will run from Park Road, past north of Whitchurch Hospital.

A Save the Northern Meadows spokesman said: “The emergency access road will go very close on one side past a tower block of social housing, and next to a home for the elderly on the side. Young children also walk to school that way every day.”

The spokesman added several mature trees would be chopped down to make way for the emergency road, and the bridge for the main route would be “three times the size”.

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