This is a hugely complex issue and I have sought regular meetings with the Velindre Trust, Welsh Government and Cardiff Council to ensure that all my constituents’ views on the key issues are reflected and their concerns raised.
This debate has been ongoing for over 20 years when planning permission for houses was granted for that land and upheld following a public inquiry. It was subsequently decided by Cardiff Council and Welsh Government that a much needed cancer hospital built on only part of the land would be preferable to housing and planning permission was granted for the hospital in 2018. That planning still stands today and the recently submitted planning applications are adjustments to the original permission already granted. Now they’ve been submitted, I will consider them in full and ensure all concerns are raised in my submissions, particularly in relation to the environmental impact and around construction traffic.
As you may be aware, I would far prefer any new build to be on brown field sites. As it is a devolved matter, I have written to the Welsh Government Health Minister, Vaughan Gething MS to seek exactly what the decision making process was for this site, to clarify what assessments were made on the environmental impact, particularly in light of the changes to planning policy around biodiversity. I have also written to the Future Generations Commissioner, asking for her views on the alignment of the development with the Future Generations Act.
I have been working with my colleague and Member of Senedd for Cardiff North, Julie Morgan to ensure that all our constituents’ views are represented – both those who are concerned about the proposed build as well as those wanting to see a world class cancer hospital. With cancer being the second biggest killer in Wales, we absolutely need more cancer treatment facilities to deal with future health challenges. The current Velindre site just doesn’t have that capacity. Many constituents have asked me to support a hospital for this reason. However, I also continue to represent my constituents who are concerned by developing on this particular site. We have also been pushing for proper environmental adaptation and mitigation – far beyond what is legally required and have been pleased to see this reflected in their ideas.
I have continued to press the Trust robustly to see far more community engagement on the concerning issues the development raises. At my request we are meeting very regularly to discuss this and other key issues where I am able to raise the campaign’s concerns directly. The Trust has promised the development to be an “enhanced community asset” in the future – and has promised robust engagement with the community as to what this should look like. This is vital and I continue to push for this. Having discussed this in detail with members of the Save the Northern Meadows campaign, I am aware that this engagement work is what local residents want to see.
I will continue to speak to the Trust, Welsh Government and the Council – monitoring, scrutinising and representing all views raised. I am happy to provide updates with any progress. I brought my children up next to those meadows and understand just how precious it is.
I hope this clarifies my position on the development but would be more than happy to discuss this further if you have any questions or comments.
Anna McMorrin MP/AS