Monday, October 25

Revamped Waterlooville library

I visited the refurbished Waterlooville library when it opened. At first glance it looks impressive, but on closer inspection and an appraisal of what I had seen, it was obvious the changes were largely on the surface and it appears to have lost some important features whilst gaining a few trivial ones.

Gone are the useful display, local information and exhibition spaces. These spaces with their leaflets about museums, events and education were what made the library work. But now the designers have gone berserk and created more space, but for what?

It seems like design has over stepped the mark and the important functionality has been lost. Book shelves have been moved around, but the books are the same. The computers are in the same place on the reference floor and can be used for internet access.

It all looks nice, but it seems less useful. They are running more courses for adults at the library, or in other words, the courses that were once run by the FE colleges are now being run at local libraries. Change for changes sake. There is one difference and that the top floor of the library has been opened up for rent. There are a set of public meeting rooms on the top floor that can be rented per hour for a smallish fee.

Still, don't be put off by the changes, books often offer more detail on subjects than most resources on the internet can, and you can use the Hampshire Libraries site to see what is available across the county and order books located in other libraries.

Friday, October 15

Coalition government starts going a dirty brown colour

The Conservative dominated coalition government is starting to gradually turn from 'green' to a brown colour (does mixing blue and orange make a brown colour??).
What was purported to be the greenest government 'ever' by the Conservatives, has shown something else recently, with Eric Pickles this week looking like a Dickensian character axing the 198 National Indicators.

The indicators are used to assess what each local authority is doing to cut emissions in their area and other important things. Unless they are replaced by some other information system that reveals what local authorities are doing, the fear now is that there will be no incentive to do anything.

If it is replaced by something simpler, then so be it, but such data should be available nationally so progress can be checked.

Other legislation under scrutiny includes a simplification of tree protection, again the concern is that the information being collected maybe reduced, giving cowboy tree surgeons, property owners and developers, opportunities to damage or remove trees.

The demise of some of the Quangos (announced yesterday) is probably less of a problem however some are of concern. The Carbon Trust and The Energy Saving Trust were not mentioned.

The latest news is that low carbon public transport is to see some cuts, with old rail stock not replaced and cuts to bus services. The controversial Seven barrage has been cancelled. RenewableUK put some light on the costs of the Seven Barrage, pointing out that the barrage would last 120 years whilst the proposed nuclear power stations would last 40 years.

All in all, it is seems the Conservatives and now the Liberal Democrats have been lying about their green credentials.

Added: Although there are some green shoots... New Energy Focus article about green energy investment.

Thursday, October 7

Sainsburys says I'll be back!

Yes Sainsburys is back with a new planning application for the Caetano site. It was predicted of course and the new plan has taken into account most of the issues raised by local residents, especially the location of the petrol station.
Councillors and residents had suggested moving the petrol station from the Sprint Print site to the current recycling centre site, Sainsburys have now done this.

It should be pointed out that the recycling centre must be moved to the new location by Taylor Wimpey by a certain date (can't remember the actual date) or on completion of something like 200 homes. So Sainsburys are constrained by these time scales and the progress Taylor Wimpey make at Dukes Meadow.

It should be noted that Sainsburys have ignored the environmental concerns raised. Cyclists and pedestrians trying to get into Waterlooville will have to deal with more traffic, whilst the store will obviously encourage car use and increase carbon footprints of shoppers attracted to the store. Small shops in Waterlooville will be under pressure, the green grocer and butchers will have to compete with a new business.

Also, although nothing to do with Sainsburys, the small Shoe Zone shop in Waterlooville has closed, presumably as a result of competition from Brantano.

Friday, October 1

Southseasaurus burnt to the ground

Sadly the steel and fibre glass sculpture that I decided to name Southseasaurus was burnt to the ground last night. It isn't known whether arsonists or an electrical fault was responsible.

I went down to Southsea to have a look in August and took some photos, creating a special image using Hugin. See my August post: