Campaigners set up new camp to protest development on Cardiff’s northern meadows
Campaigners against siting the new Velindre Cancer Centre on Cardiff’s northern meadows have this morning set up a new camp near the site to continue their protest.
The campaigners said that the ‘Nature Emergency Community Camp’ set up opposite the gate of Lady Cory Field would allow them to continue to protest what they describe as the destruction of habitat by Velindre and the Welsh Government who want to build a new cancer centre on the site.
Protestors are campaigning to save the land as they believe it represents some of Cardiff’s last remaining green meadows and ancient woodland.
As well as the environmental destruction, campaigners also argue that building a standalone cancer centre would be worse for patients and research compared to building a new hospital next to a large general hospital like UHW.
A spokesperson said that the new camp would “operate as a safe area for community members who want to protest against the development without being at risk from fines, imprisonment, or having asset seized”.
They added that the space would act as a hub for information, food, and drinks, and give local people and journalists an opportunity to meet with those who “have been demonised” by those pushing the plans forward, they said.
National and local politicians had been involved in a “secretive” decision-making process, they said, and that “communities and individuals have a duty to continue to act and call for what’s right and just to win in the end”.
Building work on the hospital itself is scheduled to begin in March 2023, with it due to open in summer 2025.
In September, a leaked letter revealed how an advisory board of cancer experts warned against building the new hospital.
But the campaign against the development suffered a setback in November when a High Court judge has upheld a decision to refuse a judicial review into the plans.
Campaigner Catherine Lewis’ request for a judicial review into the plans had previously been rejected on 21 September, and she had been told to pay more than £46,000 in legal costs.
Campaigners said the decision represented a “failure of the legal system to hold the Welsh Labour Government accountable for decisions which are not in the best interest of the public, the climate, or future generations.”
Those backing the campaign have included TV nature presenter Iolo Williams, who visited the site.
“You’ll never believe it but the Welsh Government and – I’m ashamed to say – Velindre are complicit in wanting to destroy this site,” he said. “They want to build the new Veindre hospital here.
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