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Police drag protesters off road after blockade disrupts Cardiff Velindre cancer centre work


Campaigners protesting work on Cardiff’s Northern Meadows blocked lorries from entering the site before police stepped in.

The group known as ‘Save the Northern Meadows’ have set up a ‘Nature Emergency Community Camp’ opposite the gate of Lady Cory Field in opposition to the development of a Velindre cancer centre. They say the camp will operate as a “safe area” for protesters.

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And Extinction Rebellion environmental campaigners blocked workers’ lorries from entering the site at about 2pm on Monday, January 24. For more than an hour, they formed a blockade while chanting: “We will fight for our children.”

Read more: The cancer survivor facing a £30,000 bill after launching legal challenge against Velindre Cancer Centre plans

Several lorries left the area but one later returned and was able to enter the site at around 4pm, after police moved the protesters from the road. Officers had first attempted to drag them out of the way before managing to usher them off the road.

Speaking just before being moved off the road, protester David Campbell said: “I feel tired and worn out. They are coming back tomorrow and the day after and the day after that – they aren’t going anywhere. Small wins and small victories but we are prepared for every day to be the same.”

Last week, Velindre University NHS Trust announced it was seeking an injunction against “a number of individuals undertook direct action against the December phase of the enabling works of the new Velindre Cancer Centre which impacted our ability to deliver the works”.

The trust said that permission from the High Court was being sought for an injunction against these individuals and also against those who attempt similar action during this next phase.

The latest protest follows a series of demonstrations in 2021, when around 30 protesters voiced their continued opposition to the development. In October two women were arrested following a stand-off with the police.

The group is objecting to plans to build the new cancer centre on the Northern Meadows site, with concerns raised about the impact on ecology and the local environment.

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The current Velindre hospital is becoming outdated and many in the health community agree a new cancer centre is urgently needed – although some health professionals have advocated it being built next to a large general hospital like the University Hospital of Wales rather than the Whitchurch ‘green wedge’.

The development was given the go-ahead after being given planning permission in 2017, and is expected to be completed in 2025.

One of three projects being delivered using the Welsh Government’s revenue funded Mutual Investment Model, the total price tag for the centre is over £500 million.

You can see how Monday’s protest unfolded below:

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