A RECOVERING cancer patient has lost her legal challenge against a new cancer centre to be built on a wildlife haven in Cardiff. 

Cat Lewis, who has been treated for breast cancer at Velindre in Cardiff, had brought the challenge against the Welsh Government over plans to build a new cancer centre on an area known as the Northern Meadows in Whitchurch. 

A High Court judge has refused her application for permission to proceed to a judicial review. Her legal team are now asking for an urgent review of the decision. 

Ms Lewis, who lives on the Hollybush estate, which neighbours the meadow, described as the last remaining one in Cardiff, and the existing Velindre Cancer Centre has also been told she should pay the Welsh Government’s and Velindre NHS Trust’s legal costs which, to date, amount to more than £46,000. 

She said she felt the public bodies seeking costs against her are an attempt to “intimidate” her and deter her from challenging the plans which have provoked protests from campaigners concerned about the environmental impact and the loss of public space. 

The council tenant, who is only able to work part-time, said: “I am still unable to work to full capacity due to the debilitating effects of cancer treatment and like many other self-employed people during these difficult times, I rely on Working Tax Credit and assistance with housing costs.  

“I feel like I am being bullied and intimidated by Velindre and the Welsh Government to drop the case, by scaring me with this ridiculously high level of costs they are trying to claim from me, at this very early stage in the case.” 

READ MORE: Legal challenge against new Velindre cancer centre

As well as local campaigners, clinicians have highlighted concerns at building a new cancer centre on a standalone site rather than adjacent to a critical care hospital such as the University Hospital of Wales in the Heath. 

Ms Lewis’ case has sought to challenge the development on the grounds it fails to take account of the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations Act, which is intended to embed sustainability and future proof decisions, and the government’s duty to “maintain and enhance” listed living organisms and habitats. 

The Northern Meadows are described as an important habitat for a wide range of fauna and flora, many of which are protected. The meadows are surrounded on three sides by a nature reserve that an access road will cut through, which includes one of Cardiff’s largest and oldest heronries and which is currently enjoyed by local communities, including Ms Lewis. 

READ MORE: Model Farm - fight goes on say campaigners

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said it was unable to comment on an ongoing legal case. 

Construction work for the new Velindre Cancer Centre is due to start in March 2023, taking around two years, and is likely to open in summer 2025. Enabling works to prepare the site could begin within the next few weeks.  

The Welsh Government signed off the outline business case in March earlier this year, while planning permission was granted by Cardiff Council in 2017. 

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.