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Next steps for UK’s greenest hospital

Planners have given the green light to proposals to build the UK’s most-sustainable hospital.

The ACORN consortium, led by developer, Kajima, and lead designer, White Arkitekter, has secured approval of 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 mark the latest stage in the development of the facility, which has been designed to comply with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to become the most sustainable hospital in the UK. 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 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 building components, minimise transportation, and create greater efficiencies in the construction and maintenance of the hospital. And sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) will be integrated that focus on ‘roof to river’ with no plastic in the ground, and a swale network and retention pond will form 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. Importantly, the design has been developed to ensure minimum impact on the site and aims to keep the area as wild as possible by retaining existing habitats and creating new habitats alongside landscape spaces such as an orchard with Welsh apple varieties, and a community kitchen garden.


The plans also seek 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.” A community benefits offer will also see many jobs created, apprentices trained, school pupils engaged, and 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.

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