Rules for Engagement

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Accusations of bullying and harassment have been levied against our campaign and our members. As a result, we’ve written some rules for members to follow, which are at the bottom of this post. We also strongly suggest anyone who has been the victim of bullying or harassment report it to the police. We agree that matters have become hostile over the last few months, and campaign members and supporters of Velindre – all volunteers – have become frustrated at times. This has led to conflict and heated conversation in the comments section. We strongly disagree that such comments amount to bullying or harassment. Yes, the discussion has been poor at times. Yes, both sides have struggled with misinformation and inaccuracies because the planning application is literally hundreds of documents, and no actual plan has even been released for the design of the centre yet. Often these issues are being boiled down to a single comment. A nuanced discussion of the issue is almost impossible on social media. But disagreement and conflict do not amount to harassment or bullying.

We contend that supporters levying these accusations have not been perfect in their discourse, and have left many of our supporters feeling targeted and harassed too. We strongly deny any legitimate supporters of the campaign would harass staff or patients of Velindre. These accusations are untrue and grossly misrepresent the campaign and our aims. We have always emphasised working together to find a solution that works for everyone for the new Velindre Cancer Centre. We have worked with staff, clinicians, patients, and family members to ensure we are as respectable as possible in our discussion.If anyone is a victim of harassment, we extend our apologies and invite a conversation with you to identify what happened and who is responsible.

Anyone who is using intimidation to spread our message is not a legitimate member of the campaign and is certainly not involved in running this page.We would welcome a process of discussion and reconciliation to move forward together. We have always said we want to work together to find a solution that would let us save nature AND have excellent cancer care in South Wales. Our research indicates this was never considered by planners.

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We have always been an intersectional campaign run by volunteers directly for members of the community who never had an opportunity to speak up in 2017. We have always been clear that community consultation is one of the most important aspects of the planning process, and our exclusion in 2017 means this is now our last chance to democratically voice our concerns. We welcome the formation of the group of supporters. We hope by looking at the planning applications and doing further research supporters will also begin to recognise the significant problems with the plans as they are. We accept we don’t always get it right. We hope you can be patient with us as we are all volunteers using our free time to stand for the meadows and our local community. We strongly believe we can save the meadows AND have excellent cancer care in South Wales. It is simply a lie that we don’t have enough space and we have to choose between them. We hope that our work can help secure the best cancer care for the people of South Wales, and ensure the nVCC is the best form it can be. We accept it is a difficult and emotive conversation and is always looking to improve our communication and discussions. We ask community members opposing our campaign to do the same.

We have all been affected by cancer in one way or another. Members of our group have been through hell because of it. Many of them and their families have also been treated at Velindre, and have praised the incredible staff.We want to be clear no one is targeting the staff or patients at Velindre. We extend our heartfelt apologies if staff or patients have been hurt by the campaign, or if the campaign has caused you any distress. We would like to hear from you publicly or in confidence to find out how we can do better.

Finally, we will mention a few rules we believe can help prevent accusations from emerging in future. If any discussion breaches the rules we will take it down. If anyone is causing any issues please raise them with this page or the group admins.

1️⃣ Be kind, courteous, respectful. Don’t engage in personal attacks.

2️⃣ Don’t directly message anyone you are speaking to in the comments.

3️⃣ Don’t share screenshots of messages from individuals publicly without covering their name and photo. This could instigate further targeting of this individual and make you a harasser.

4️⃣ Don’t spend to much time on here. Facebook comments never changed anyone’s mind.

Tess and the Team

Save the Northern MeadowsYes to Velindre, No to meadows development.

In Response to the Velindre Trust Board

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We want to note the dismissive, distorting language used by the board in relation to our campaign. It demonstrates how little they have tried to work with us and the community. It shows they don’t understand – or don’t care – why we have come together in our thousands to try and save the meadows.

Many of us have used the meadows for years, if not decades. Yes, some people did discover the meadow during lockdown. But that doesn’t make their contribution any less valuable than if they had been walking there for years.

We are clear in the fact if people had discovered the site or not, it would still have been a significant community asset for mental health, wellbeing, the environment, sports, and recreation.

The Board also sees us as perpetrators of misinformation in the community. Therefore I would like to challenge the board to provide the business case for the new hospital to the public. We want to be clear on what exactly you want to do to the meadow, so we can keep the community informed.

I want to note this is actually VCC’s job as the developers. And it is yet another developmental failure that the onus is on a campaign run by volunteers to give the community the information they need.

We would also hope a public body would be truthful in its planning applications. But when new applications are submitted, changes and discrepancies appear.

Our clearest example is the estimated effect of building on forest farm. At planning in 2017, these were stated to be minimal. Now the area is facing medium to high levels of air, noise, and light pollution.

How are community volunteers – and not influencers by any extent (although we are flattered) – meant to provide accurate information when:

1️⃣ The information shared by the public body is distorted or false;

2️⃣ The community is given three weeks to analyse planning applications, of hundreds of pages and documents, as well as raising awareness of the issues in the community and objecting along legal lines;

3️⃣ Many in the community weren’t even aware the development was happening in the first place, despite living in close proximity to the site, a clear failure in communication and engagement.

As community members who will have to live with the development, construction, and operation for the rest of our lifetimes, we ask the board to not be as patronising or dismissive of our concerns.

Perhaps you don’t understand the stress of living on a main road coming off a busy motorway junction, or a small flat without a garden. Perhaps you don’t understand the difficulties of living with long term mental illnesses and the stress that comes with. Or perhaps you simply don’t care what the community is going through, and hope to press ahead despite the fact the world has changed due to Covid-19 and climate change.

Either way, we have repeatedly asked for greater community involvement in decision making, and for you to raise awareness with the community in an equitable way. What we see here and in your practice is an utter dismissal of our concerns.

We ask all community groups working in solidarity with us, to seriously question the public authority and it’s view of the public.

Allowing a blasé board of executives to hold such views of a community where they hope to build their centre – when many of us have been treated or know individuals seeking treatment ourselves – is disgraceful and must be treated as such.

You can find the full meeting bundle here

http://www.velindre-tr.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/documents/1137/Velindre%20University%20NHS%20Trust%20Board%20Bundle%2030th%20July%202020.pdf

Flash Flooding will only get worse

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Today Whitchurch and Llandaff North suffered very serious flash flooding. Over-development of built up areas leaves heavy rain water with nowhere to go except through our streets and houses. Concreting approximately 10acres of the meadows will seriously impact the surrounding area as rainwater isn’t absorbed into the ground. No matter what developers attempt to say they are going to do to stop this happening, the only serious solution is to stop the overdevelopment NOW!! Starting with the scrapping of any construction on our meadows.

Velindre – PFI again?

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PFI again?

While there has been widespread opposition by the local community to the plans to site the new Velindre Cancer Centre on the Northern Meadows, there has been very little discussion about the proposed funding arrangement. The financing of the new Centre is through the Welsh Government’s Mutual Investment Model (MIM). This will be the first hospital in Wales that is funded through a public- private finance initiative, and sets a precedent in establishing hospitals as private entities, leasing out facilities to the NHS.

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Open Garden Day – 1st Aug

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OPEN GARDEN DAY IN SUPPORT OF SAVE THE NORTHERN MEADOWS

Our multi-award winning garden is raising funds for Save the Northern Meadows!

Set in over half an acre with ponds, various themes & ample seating. All welcome (including dogs & well-behaved owners on leads)!

Bird boxes, artwork, plants & cakes etc. for sale plus some ‘freebees’

Saturday 1st August 11am – 4pm

104 Pendwyallt Road, Whitchurch CF14 7EH

ADMISSION £3

Meet on the Meadows as usual at 11 or feel free to head to the open garden in your own time, until 4pm. Up the hill from the Hollybush Pub.

All proceeds to be donated to Save the Northern Meadows campaign

Open Letter by Dr Ashley Roberts

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I am both a Whitchurch resident and a Consultant Interventional Radiologist at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and over 90% of my professional work as a doctor is related to cancer. The views I express are my own, but do reflect those of other colleagues in healthcare. All of the documents cited are publicly available for verification.

The environmental arguments against destroying the Northern Meadows are clear. I don’t need to reiterate these. The main reason for writing is regarding good modern cancer care of the population in the 21st Century.

Cardiff and Vale UHB

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is responsible for the health and well-being of the whole population. Indeed, this is set out in the aims of the health board -Shaping our future wellbeing strategy 2015-2025. 

“Caring for People; Keeping People Well is why we exist as a UHB, with a vision that a person’s chance of leading a healthy life is the same wherever they live and whoever they are.”

There is little doubt taking away the Northern Meadows as they currently are from the local population would be hugely detrimental to physical and mental well-being.

The proposed model for Transforming Cancer Services in South East Wales

Developing a stand-alone Cancer centre is an archaic model, and I will go on to explain why.

Cancer treatment has become more and more complex, and cancer patients undergoing treatment have increasingly complex issues. If they become severely unwell now, they are transferred to UHW in an ambulance. Sometimes they require ITU treatment. Other new cancer service developments are using a different, better model with specialties on the same site, such as surgery, cardiology, interventional radiology, gastroenterology, respiratory medicine, intensive care and others. In other words, modern cancer services are physically linked to larger acute hospitals.

No ambulances required!

Two examples:

  1. Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

https://www.clatterbridgecc.nhs.uk/about-centre/mission-aims-and-values

Abstracted rom the above website:

·  Our plans for Transforming Cancer Care

We are expanding and improving cancer care even further with the development of a new 11-floor specialist cancer hospital in the heart of Liverpool. The new cancer hospital is due to open in 2020 and will provide highly-specialist cancer care for people with blood cancers and solid tumours. Although the Liverpool hospital will become our main base, we will also continue providing services at our current site in Wirral and our satellite radiotherapy centre on the Aintree site.

Being located in central Liverpool alongside the University of Liverpool and Royal Liverpool University Hospital will significantly improve care for people with cancer:

·  Our main base will be closer to the majority of the population we serve, which stretches from Southport down to Wirral and across to Widnes / Warrington. People who live closer to Wirral / Aintree will still be able to access care locally as we’re keeping our current sites

·  Unlike now, we will be co-located with a major acute teaching hospital providing rapid access to intensive care and other key medical and surgical specialties when patients need them. At the moment these patients have to be transferred by emergency ambulance to other hospitals

·  We will be at the heart of a thriving research and healthcare campus with the University of Liverpool, NHS and other key research partners, enabling even more ground breaking cancer research and clinical trials

The document below outlines clearly the forward-thinking direction of travel on a single-side of A4 in 2020:

https://www.transformingcancercaremc.nhs.uk/services/services-from-2020

  1. Mount Vernon Cancer Centre Review

There are many pieces of evidence in the website below, which illustrates why the proposed new Velindre model is outdated.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/east-of-england/nhs-england-and-nhs-improvement-east-of-englands-work/mount-vernon-cancer-centre-review/

In the Independent Clinical Panel Report below is just one example from Page 7, where “any proposed model of care must address:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/east-of-england/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2019/08/Independent-Clinical-Panel-Report.pdf

“The need for onsite surgical and comprehensive medical acute support services to quickly and safely manage treatment related toxicities / complications, acute illness linked to patient comorbidities and frailty as well as disease related sequelae”

In other words, an independent body considers this to be an essential requirement.

Why have Velindre selected an archaic model?

Only they can answer this, but it MUST be scrutinised. 

I completely understand why the clinical and managerial leaders at Velindre wish to remain large fish in a small pond, as they are at the moment. I also understand why they would not want this status quo to be disrupted, and that they want the new hospital to be built as soon as possible. 

It appears they continue to disregard other options, although no doubt there have been reviews and option appraisals in the past. The world has changed, including the effect of COVID-19 and the importance of outdoor spaces for communities. 

Velindre is an outstanding “brand” and much loved by the people of Cardiff. It is possible they may have taken the opportunity to exploit this “brand” so their decisions go without external scrutiny. 

The new model for cancer care will be outdated before it is even built.

There are therefore important questions to ask.

Questions to consider

Has there been an independent clinical review of the proposed model for Velindre for the 21st century? 

If there has been, when was it? 

Who conducted it? 

Was it truly independent?

Has there been any proper engagement with C and V UHB regarding the proposed redevelopment of UHW, and integration of cancer services on that site?

Has this been revisited as an option since the COVID-19 pandemic?

The clinical and managerial leaders may suggest a further cycle of review and updating will not achieve anything, and they may even be fearful nothing at all might happen. I understand this fear, as Velindre does need updating.  My colleagues at Velindre would need reassurances from politicians that a 21st cancer centre will be delivered.

However, we should not spend millions of pounds of tax payers money doing the wrong thing, and destroying an important natural space which we would never have back, however outstanding the architecture is.

Those who oppose the new development and destruction of the Northern Meadows have been branded as anti “cancer services” but this is not true.  The application must be called in and the proposed model of care reviewed.

Dr Ashley Roberts

Welcome Post

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Welcome to the website of the group opposing development on the green open land known locally as the Northern Meadows, in Whitchurch Cardiff. We aim to provide up to date information about the current planning situation and how members of the public can help with making an objection.