Sunday, 11 March 2012

Aberystwyth University updates

We've come across, or been sent, details of a few things connected to Aberystwyth University recently, so it made sense to put them in a single post.

Road connecting the University's Penglais Campus to the National Library of Wales

The route for the new road

We've mentioned this silly road before, as an example of a waste of public money (c. £200,000 in this case) in building a road between the National Library of Wales and the Aberystwyth University Campus (Soil Sciences buildings, which will be demolished as part of the work). There was already a route there - for pedestrians, away from traffic, with pleasant green surroundings, which encouraged walking rather than driving. Cars and buses could still go between the sites using the main road. However Aberystwyth University decided that wasn't easy enough for people, and wanted to encourage vehicles to drive between the adjacent sites. And our silly Government decided to fund the silly scheme, since they must have over-taxed the citizens of Wales then had to scrabble around for ways to spend the money, rather than give it back by reducing taxes next time.

 March 2012 - more trees and green spaces removed for unnecessary roads

The start of work at the beginning of February, while things still looked fairly natural

Afan Construction Ltd are the company ruining the pleasant green path by building a road

Normally you could be lucky and see a planning application and have the opportunity to object. However the planning notice for this work went up in June 2008, for 21 days. So current students at the university won't have had a chance to comment on the proposal, or even known it was planned. Apart from those who saw the little yellow notice a few years ago everyone else will have had no idea of what was planned until diggers moved in. And, of course, it was then three years too late to say anything. Thanks, democracy! Planning permission for this road was given by Ceredigion County Council on the 23rd March, 2009.

A green area that will be built over

Bushes removed for a new footpath because of the works

And so a new road will degrade further green areas. We know that we have lost most of the UK's native forest, and lose green areas at an increasing rate as population, housing estates, and roads grow. We know that people use cars too much, which is unhealthy and unsustainable and we should be discouraging their use. Short-sighted, anyone?

Fields for housing
It is sad that while we post about a new forest, Aberystwyth University is continuing to build on greenfield sites (amidst accusations of pressuring people to move). Specifically, a new student hall being built on green fields on Penglais Farm (permission granted by Ceredigion County Council, as usual), costing £40 million. Further details in an older post. "Surely the accommodation is needed?" you ask. "That isn't Aberystwyth University's fault." Actually it is their fault if the only reason more accommodation is needed is because the university keeps demolishing other halls! For a few examples see here and the section 'More construction past the TFTV building' here - it turns out that was a hall of residence which has now been turned into a department, another decision which created the shortage the university is regularly criticised for. So the accommodation shortage was caused by bad planning on the part of the university. The loss of these fields is another example of overdevelopment - a common theme in Ceredigion.

Sensitive developments?

If there weren't a sad story behind these photos then the tinfoil shacks would be amusing. When the university Arts Centre built these it was claimed that they would blend in with the woodland surroundings. As these recent photos show, that was utter tosh. On the one hand they just look like tinfoil shacks. Secondly, the woods they were meant to blend in with were mostly cut down in order to build them! The background to the tinfoil shacks is mentioned here and here.
Recent 'sensitive pruning' on Penglais campus - after all, why trim healthy bushes when you can just remove them completely, turning a green path into something that looks barren?

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