UK’s most-sustainable hospital reaches planning milestone

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 24-Mar-2023

Permission granted for new Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff

The ACORN consortium, led by developer and investor, Kajima, with lead designer, White Arkitekter, has received approval for the reserved matters associated with the 2017 outline planning permission for the new Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff.

Plans were approved by Cardiff Council’s planning committee on 16 March and the team has unveiled new images of the proposed facility.

The design will be integrated into a natural setting, respecting the existing ecological habitats and landscape features.

And it 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 and aims to become the most-sustainable hospital in the UK.

The design utilises low embodied carbon and 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 visitors.

And the scheme will be all electric to supporting low-energy demand and low operational carbon.

A strategy is also in place to reduce site waste through offsite manufacture of components, minimise transportation, and create greater efficiencies in the construction and maintenance of the hospital.

Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDS) systems will be integrated which focus on ‘roof to river’ with no plastic in the ground, and a swale network and retention pond will form attractive amenity areas.

The façade design, based on a standard grid, will enable internal spaces to be easily reconfigured without the need for costly structural alterations – allowing the building to respond to space requirements of future innovation in treatment and equipment.

The centrepiece of the project is the Lolfa, a flexible space for meeting, waiting, conversation, and
access to all the hospital departments

The centrepiece of the project is the Lolfa, a flexible space for meeting, waiting, conversation, and access to all the hospital departments

Importantly, the design has also been developed to ensure minimum impact on the site and the landscape strategy aims to keep the site as wild as possible by retaining existing habitats and creating new habitats alongside new landscape spaces such as an orchard with Welsh apple varieties and a community kitchen garden.

In addition, the scheme seeks to create informal play areas and a multitude of walking, cycling, and relaxation areas.

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 see many jobs created, apprentices trained, school pupils engaged, substantial community initiatives, and engagement over the course of the scheme’s development.

The consortium also 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.

A community cafe is located on the ground floor

A community cafe is located on the ground floor

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