The area of the proposed site in Caerau. Credit: Google Maps

The proposed new Ely and Caerau health hub that is worrying local residents

People living nearby do not want the building to ‘overshadow’ residential properties

Residents in Caerau are concerned about losing green space due to a potential new health hub proposed by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

The proposed site for the new health and wellbeing hub is next to the existing Ely and Caerau Community Hub, and Ely Fire Station.

The site has several residential properties near to it, including those on Treseder Way.

However, Liam Hopkins, a planning consultant on behalf of the applicant, said “the proposed development is central to an integrated health service delivery model that the health board has prepared and adopted”.

The report was heard before the council’s planning committee on January 12, where committee members voted for a site visit.

What are the plans for the new health hub?

The new hub is part of an outline planning application which means it is only a proposal for the principle of development and its parameters, council officer Justin Jones has said. The initial plans also include parking and drainage.

The proposed health hub has both two-storey and three-storey parts, with the three-storey part facing the residential area. The three-storey part of the hub is “proposed to deliver the functional wellbeing facility,” Mr Hopkins said.

The light pink shows the two-storey parts and the dark pink shows the three-storey element. Credit: IBI Group.

If approved, the plans would integrate the new health hub with the existing Ely and Caerau Community Hub.

This connection is key to a new health service delivery model, according to Mr Hopkins, who was acting on behalf of the health board at the committee meeting.

He said: “Of critical importance to the delivery of this approach is the integration of health and well-being services that are provided by the health board with other public and community services that also contribute to health and well-being.

“The existing Ely and Caerau Hub provide such services and that is why the development is proposed to be located there and integrated to the existing facility.”

There is an existing Park View Health Centre at the site, but approval has been previously granted to demolish it, according to council officer Mr Jones.

Why are residents concerned?

The main concern about the principle of the site is the loss of flat, green space.

The petition by the Park Grove Residents Group opposes the “the use of our green space for the building of the health and Wellbeing Hub”.

Petitioner Nicola Clarke, who lives on Treseder Way, said at the planning committee meeting that she understands the benefits of a new health centre but also raised issues with the outline plan.

She said: “The loss of our only piece of flat space for ball games will push our children onto the roads to play.”

She was also concerned about the size of the proposed hub.

She claimed: “A building of such size will overshadow surrounding properties blocking both our light and our privacy.

“This can only have a negative impact on our mental health and well-being, the total opposite of what this build proposes.”

Plan of the proposed site parameter outlined in red and the existing health provision outlined in blue. Credit: IPI Group

However, Mr Hopkins spoke about some key parts of the report to reassure residents that the development would not be overbearing.

He said: “The orientation and height of the development, plus the distance between it and residential properties, would ensure that the development wouldn’t appear to be overbearing and would not harm the amenities of residential properties.”

Ward councillors raise issues with outline planning application

Ward councillors also have issues with the outline plans but understand the importance of the principle of the health hub.

Peter Bradbury, councillor for Caerau, raised concerns about the three-storey element facing the residential area.

“This, as it’s being proposed even in outline permission, is looking directly over residents’ houses,” he said at the planning committee meeting.

“No one’s doubting that there needs to be a three-storey element to this proposal, but it should be placed further away from residential houses.”

However, Coun Bradbury also said that he wants the application to go through, but not as it currently stands.

He said: “I am not objecting to this application. I want this application to go through. I want this application, ultimately this health centre, to go through for the benefit of my constituent’s health.

“I want to do this right for my constituents.”

Ely Councillor Maliika Kaaba shared Coun Bradbury’s concerns with the outline application.

She said: “I am not opposed to the actual Park View development, but as it stands I am.

“I concur with Councillor Bradbury that the three-storey element of the building should be facing the main road end and that mitigates some of the issues that the residents will have facing it.”

What happens next?

The planning committee will make a site visit before reaching a final decision.