Flagship health centre opens as part of Cardiff regeneration

Multi-use facility breathes new life into run-down shopping town

@Loudoun in Cardiff includes a new, modern health centre featuring GP clinics, a pharmacy and a dental facility, all accessed via a bright atrium featuring photographic artworks

A photographic montage of the local skyline is providing a focal point for a new state-of-the-art health centre in Cardiff.

Built on the site of a run-down 1960s shopping centre and derelict maisonettes in the heart of Butetown, the facility is part of a £13m regeneration of the area, which also includes a culture and media centre, social enterprise units and a new base for Cardiff Council information services.

Work on the three-year regeneration scheme started in June 2010 following four years of community consultation and planning and will provide much-needed modern health and social care services for residents.

Designed by architect, Austin Smith Lord, and built by the Leadbitter Group, @Loudoun is a collaboration between Cardiff Community Housing Association (CCHA), Cardiff Council and the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

And the centrepiece of the development is the atrium, which features a large photographic image created from a montage of photographs taken from the roofs of the nearby tower blocks by artists Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer. The architect also designed a vibrant glass cube which forms the entrance to the building. The atrium itself then leads to the new Butetown Health Centre, pharmacy, culture and media centre and the social enterprise units.

The health centre houses two GP practices, a dental centre and a community pharmacy.

Opening the centre this week, Welsh Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths, said: “Health services are at the heart of this excellent community development. @Loudoun won’t just deliver economic and social benefits, but a range of high-quality, accessible health services, working together to serve the needs of the local community.”

Kevin Protheroe, chief executive of CCHA, added: “The opening of @Loudoun is significant for all partners involved, especially the local community. They now have access to high-quality health, information and recreational services all under one roof. We firmly believe that @Loudoun will have a big impact on the regeneration of Loudoun Square.”

During construction of the building, Leadbitter was recognised with a Considerate Constructors Scheme Gold Award . Charlie Scherer, regional director of its West and Wales housing division, said: “We are extremely proud to have been involved in this hugely successful regeneration programme and it gives us great pleasure to see this fantastic health centre handed over for use by the local community.

“Winning the hearts and minds of locals can be the key to success in a regeneration project. Without community buy-in, it is difficult to create a genuinely sustainable development. Here we have been able to give residents a sense of identity, pride and belonging, which has been achieved through a combination of good design, quality construction and first rate community engagement.”

The final phase of the project involves the demolition of the original 1960s health centre and completion of 48 apartments, 13 of which are specifically designed for disabled people. Work is due for completion in March 2013.

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