Space-age technology is now being used to monitor the movement of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s ill-fated £100,000 ‘Penarth Head Viewing Platform’ at Penarth Head Park .
After cracks appeared in the structure special measuring points have been set up on the failing 150 tonne Viewing Platform , on the ground, around it and even on Penarth Head Lane – 100 yards away.
On November 14nd 2016 PDN reported that long diagonal cracks had appeared in the 150-tonne edifice which appeared to indicate that the sheer weight of the huge concrete-and engineering-brick structure is more than the fragile cliff-edge can withstand. (See http://tinyurl.com/zbh6te8 )
On November 22nd 2016 Vale of Glamorgan Council workmen erected a new fence either side of the viewing platform, several feet away from the cliff edge .
They also chained steel barriers, secured with padlocks, at the entrances of the viewing platform.Notices were set up notices informing visitors that the structure was “closed for surveying” .
However intrepid – but possibly unwise – members of the public could still access the platform by simply ducking under the handrail. The word “Danger” does not appear anywhere in the signage.
On November 23rd an independent firm of land surveyors began fixing several yellow-coloured markers at intervals along the walls of the structure, on the ground around it, and placed some almost 100 yards away on Penarth Head Lane.
On November 24th the surveyors set up a base measuring-point on Clive Place at the corner of the junction with Church Place South, just over 15o yards away from the ‘Viewing Platform’.
Using Global Positioning System signals from 15 satellites, it is from this point (across the road from the entrance to Penarth Head Lane) that they are taking regular measurements – to an accuracy of one millimetre – from all the marker points to determine what parts of the platform are shifting – and to what extent the ground beneath it is subsiding.
The measurement-readings will be taken at intervals over a period of several weeks. The firm will then compile a confidential report for the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
The Penarth Head Viewing Platform – widely condemned as a council “vanity project” was funded by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s own capital programme (i.e. it was all council-tax-payers’ money). Situated 200 feet above sea-level , it was supposed to provide a focal point for walkers using the Wales Coastal Path.
Work began on the construction in January last year (2015) . It was supposed to take 7 seeks to build but it was 17 weeks before the structure was eventually completed in May 2015 .
Its stark, forbidding, dominant and monolithic appearance was almost universally condemned from the outset by local residents. Significantly there was no formal official opening ceremony.
The leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council Cllr Neil Moore (Labour Cadoc Ward Barry) issued a statement defending the project and promising to “soften” the impact of the building.
Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines and now Deputy Leader of the Council ) had told the Penarth Tourist and Visitor Association in last year that flowers would be planted around it (in fact they didn’t materialise for 12 months) and that the misaligned recesses for information plaques on the parapet of the structure would be re-installed (they still haven’t been) .