Plans submitted for UK’s most-sustainable hospital

By Jo Makosinski 7-Nov-2022

ACORN consortium submits plans for new Velindre Cancer Centre

The new cancer centre will be the country's most-sustainable healthcare build. Pictured is the proposed view of the entrance from the Whitchurch playing field side

The new cancer centre will be the country's most-sustainable healthcare build. Pictured is the proposed view of the entrance from the Whitchurch playing field side

The ACORN consortium, led by developer and investor, Kajima, has submitted detailed plans for the new Velindre Cancer Centre in South Wales.

The consortium was appointed following a public procurement process run by Velindre University NHS Trust and includes Sacyr, Abrdn, Andrew Scott, Kier Facilities Services, White Arkitekter, Arup, MJ Medical, Turley, Studio Response, Camlins Landscape Architects, Osborne Clarke, Operis, and Confab Lab.

ACORN’s plans comprise an elegant, sustainable new cancer centre designed by leading healthcare architects, White Arkitekter, for patients, staff, and the local community, with an exceptional landscape and community benefits solution.

To deliver this scheme, ACORN has submitted a Reserved Matters planning application to Cardiff Council for its consideration.

The buildings are designed with circular economy principles, using low-carbon materials and making a minimal impact on the surrounding countryside

The submission includes details such as building design and landscaping plans for Cardiff Council’s approval.

Richard Coe, project director at Kajima, said: “We are really pleased to have submitted detailed plans for the Velindre Cancer Centre, which is set to become the UK’s most-sustainable hospital.

“The buildings are designed with circular economy principles, using low-carbon materials and making a minimal impact on the surrounding countryside.

“Our plans are the result of close collaboration with the trust, its staff, and patients, with the result being a cancer centre that is designed to serve South Wales for generations to come.”

Respecting the landscape

The design has been developed to ensure minimum impact on the site.

The design and landscape strategy aim to keep the site as wild as possible by retaining existing habitats and creating new habitats alongside new landscape spaces such as an orchard and community kitchen garden.

The scheme also seeks to create informal play areas and a multitude of walking, cycling, and relaxation areas.

Welcoming spaces

Patients and visitors will arrive through entrances directly into the ‘Lolfa’, providing a welcoming atmosphere for patients and visitors.

A variety of spaces are provided including a patient transport waiting area, young person’s lounge, and a café/restaurant.

An artist's impression of The Lolfa - a public cafe and feature staircase with seating

An artist's impression of The Lolfa - a public cafe and feature staircase with seating

A design for the long term

The new cancer centre is being developed to comply with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and will deliver the most-sustainable hospital in the UK.

The design approach to façades means that internal spaces can 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.

Sustainability

The design utilises low-embodied-carbon, bio-based materials that support a circular economy. This includes timber specified for the Lolfa, radiotherapy, and waiting areas.

Natural internal materials such as lime and clay renders, which are breathable, flexible, and anti-fungal, are also proposed, with the aim to deliver a natural calming environment for staff, patients, and visitors.

Our plans are the result of close collaboration with the trust, its staff, and patients, with the result being a cancer centre that is designed to serve South Wales for generations to come

The new Velindre Cancer Centre will achieve a minimum BREEAM ‘Excellent’ sustainability rating and is designed to be all electric, with a strategy in place to reduce site waste through offsite manufacture of components, minimising transportation and creating greater efficiencies in the construction and maintenance of the building.

Sustainable Urban Drainage systems will also be integrated that focus on ‘roof to river’ with minimal below-ground pipes, a swale network, and retention pond.

Community benefits

A community benefits offer will see many jobs created, apprentices trained, school pupils engaged, substantial community initiatives, and engagement.

And ACORN will establish the IMPACT Community Benefits Delivery Plan that is described by five key headings:

1.     Futures: Investing in skills and employment to enable local communities to achieve their potential

2.     Thrive: Contributing to the wellbeing of South Wales communities and their environments, promoting good health and environmental sustainability

3.     Prosper: Promoting SME and social business engagement, investing in local communities through the supply chain

4.     Embrace: Fostering inclusion and promoting equality and diversity across the workforce and local communities

5.     Think: Establishing mechanisms that support collaborative learning to ensure, as a partnership, it builds on what works

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Additional community benefits proposed include a carbon literacy training programme; employment of a ranger; and ‘grow and prosper’ social business programme, social business makers market; and a tool library

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