Plans were approved by Cardiff Council’s Planning Committee on 16 March 2023. The proposals for what ACORN and Kajima says is ‘the UK’s greenest hospital’ are for ‘a highly sustainable, elegant new cancer centre for patients, staff, and the local community’. White Arkitekter said: “The design will be integrated into a natural setting, respecting the existing ecological habitats and landscape features. The new facility will promote excellence in cancer services, and support international research and development.”
Velindre Cancer Centre is being developed to comply with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, with the aspiration of becoming the UK’s most sustainable hospital. The design utilises low embodied carbon, bio-based materials that ‘support a circular economy, and promote health and wellbeing’. Timber and other natural materials such as lime and clay renders, which are breathable, flexible, and anti-fungal, will deliver a natural calming environment for staff, patients, and their families/visitors. The scheme will be all-electric, to support low-energy demand and low operational carbon. A strategy is in place to reduce site waste through offsite manufacture of components, minimise transportation, and create greater efficiencies in the hospital’s construction and maintenance Sustainable Urban Drainage systems will be integrated that focus on ‘roof to river,’ with no plastic in the ground, a swale network, and retention pond, which form attractive amenity areas for everyone to enjoy.
White Arkitekter says the façade design, based on a standard grid, will enable internal spaces to be easily reconfigured ‘without the need for costly structural alterations’. It said: “Importantly, the design has been developed to ensure minimum impact on the site. The landscape strategy aims to keep the site as wild as possible by retaining existing habitats and creating new ones alongside new landscape spaces such as an orchard with Welsh apple varieties, and a community kitchen garden. The scheme also seeks to create informal play areas and a multitude of walking, cycling and relaxation areas.”
The photos shows an artist’s impression of the Radiotherapy waiting are at the new facility.
Michael Woodford, Partner at White Arkitekter, said: “Securing planning consent for this exemplary new hospital is excellent news – not only will it provide cutting-edge facilities, but in a wholly sustainable manner. White is proud to be creating spaces that support the fantastic work of the NHS, and we look forward to bringing the scheme to life in close collaboration with the Trust, consortium, and local community over the coming years.”
A community benefits offer will also see many jobs created, apprentices trained, school pupils engaged, substantial community initiatives, and engagement over the course of the scheme’s development. ACORN will establish the IMPACT Community Benefits Delivery Plan that is ‘described by five key headings’:
1 Futures: invest in skills and employment to enable local communities to achieve their potential.
2 Thrive: contribute to the wellbeing of South Wales communities and their environments, promoting good health and environmental sustainability.
3 Prosper: promote SME and social business engagement, investing in local communities through our supply chain.
4 Embrace: foster inclusion and promote equality and diversity across the workforce and local communities.
5 Think: establish mechanisms that support collaborative learning to ensure, as a partnership, we build on what works.
Additional community benefits proposed include a Carbon Literacy Training Programme, employment of a Ranger, Grow and Prosper Social Business Programme, Social Business Makers Market, and a Tool Library.
The Acorn consortium was the successful participant following the conclusion of a robust procurement process run by Velindre University NHS Trust. The consortium includes Sacyr UK as the main contractor, Abrdn, Kier Facilities Services, White Arkitekter, BAC, Hydrock, Ingho, MJ Medical, Turley, Studio Response, Camlins Landscape Architects, RSK, Osborne Clarke, Operis, and CloudNine.