Cardiff Civic Society and Save the Northern Meadows campaign have joined forces to urge the Velindre Cancer Centre to find another location for the hospital.
The tragedy of Covid-19 has illustrated beyond all doubt how much the citizens of Cardiff depend on green space for health and well-being, and the Northern Meadows provide an oasis of calm within a busy and fast-growing city.
As Cardiff ranks low on the UK green spaces league table – having just 8% of publicly accessible green space compared with 15.6% in Birmingham and 13.5% in Glasgow – the city cannot afford to lose yet more of the open space its citizens depend on for health.
Documents received by the Save the Northern Meadows campaign reveal that the original VCC proposal was intended for a different site, and ask that these plans be revived.
“Green space is vitally important for the urban population, and is known to help reduce anxiety, depression and stress, and to help speed up recovery from serious illness,” says Nerys Lloyd-Pierce, chair of Cardiff Civic Society.
“If the location of the cancer hospital is moved to an alternative, less damaging site, then it is a win-win situation, where a new hospital can be created, and the meadows, along with some 600 trees, can be saved for the benefits of Cardiff’s people.”
“”The meadows are also an impractical site – a proposed access route will cost £27m. Strangely, however, VCC’s own planning statement says that the road is not strictly necessary. Therefore raising the question – how can such a waste of health service money be justified?”
Despite Cardiff’s population being poorly served for green space, the city’s open land is being constantly encroached upon, with the Northern Meadows, Sanatorium Park and Britannia Park all under threat.
Threats to green space also threaten nature, as needless development destroys vital habitat.
When the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 was passed it was seen to be ground-breaking. The act requires public bodies in Wales to consider the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other, and to work to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and tackle climate change.
However, five years down the line, communities in Cardiff are having to campaign to protect their precious green spaces, spaces that provide the very well-being the act is supposed to protect.
There is also a legal duty to protect and enhance biodiversity under Section 6 of the Environment Wales (2016) Act. Both Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government have declared a Climate Emergency, and should, therefore, be placing greater emphasis on protecting green space than ever before. Saving the Northern Meadows would give the public a clear signal that the authorities in Wales are serious about tackling climate change.
Tessa Marshall, leader of the Save the Northern Meadows campaign, stresses that the campaign to protect the meadows has a huge amount of support.
“More than 11,000 people have signed our petition to save this green lung in the heart of the city. Even many staff at the current Velindre Hospital believe that building on the meadows is wrong. If the hospital authorities won’t see how important it is to find another location, then we call upon the Welsh Government to call in the plans immediately.”
Further information Nerys Lloyd-Pierce 02920 343 121/07701 007 128.
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