CRACKS IN PENARTH HEAD VIEWING PLATFORM ARE MEASURED FROM SPACE

Movement of the monstrous Penarth Head Viewing Platform is now being monitored from space

Movement of the monstrous Penarth Head Viewing Platform is now being monitored from space

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.

17 months old - and already coming apart. The green grass of Penarth Head Park can be seen through the crack.

The green grass of Penarth Head Park can be seen through widening cracks in massive walls of the seventeen-month-old 150 tonne structure.

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 )

Section of land abutting the cliff edge to the north and south of the viewing platform are now fenced off

Section of land abutting the cliff edge to the north and south of the viewing platform are now fenced off

The Vale Council has installed signs informing the public the viewing platform is closed

The Vale Council has installed signs informing the public the viewing platform is closed

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.

Yellow markers have been fixed at intervals to the structure and horizontal markers glued over the cracks in the structure and over explansion joints

Yellow markers have been fixed at intervals to the structure and horizontal markers glued over the cracks in the walls and over expansion joints

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.

The surveyors have even placed some movement markers in the road-surface half way down Penarth Head Lane

The surveyors have even placed some movement markers in the road-surface half way down 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.

One of the markers driven into the soil of Penarth Head Park. If the earth moves - the surveyors will soon know about it.

One of the markers driven into the soil of Penarth Head Park. If the earth moves – the surveyors will soon know about it.

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.

Cllr Neil Moore Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council attempted to assauge public concern about the viewing platform in May 2015

Cllr Neil Moore Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council attempted to assauge public concern about the viewing platform in May 2015

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) .

About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time.
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7 Responses to CRACKS IN PENARTH HEAD VIEWING PLATFORM ARE MEASURED FROM SPACE

  1. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on bricklaying but isn’t it a big no no to have vertical joints in brickwork directly above and below each other in a wall? Aren’t bricks meant to be staggered on the various adajacent courses to give strength to a wall?

    There appear to be plenty of instances in your photos which show half bricks directly above and below each other with the mortar joint running straight down.

    Also how come the crack in the photo above appears to run straight down unless there is a straight route down through joints? Normally a crack due to stress or subsidance would be jagged as it found it’s way around joints at the end of the bricks in the various courses.

    Maybe someone with more building knowledge or a brickie could give their opinion on the pictures.

    • Tim Hughes says:

      It is a movement joint; walls over a certain size should always have them. Cracking due to the shrinkage of the concrete foundations and the curing of the brickwork should be concentrated in the movement joint. Older masonry doesn’t need them because lime based mortars are much more flexible.

  2. Dave says:

    Depending on how wide the wall length is they tend to leave gaps in sections to allow for movement else cracks will occur. So a long wall will probably be 10ft long then a small expansion gap then another section. With a circular construction not sure how this would work. When they finally knock it down, I will take the bricks to recycle for my garden wall. May as well do that as waste more money measuring it, unless they have given it to a local uni as a project and they will do it for free as a research project on how not to do things.

  3. Andy C says:

    I certainly hope they are not using GPS (or GNSS as us in the know would call it) as the accuracy that would be achieved with the GNSS receiver would not be accurate enough to measure the sort of movement we are seeing here. The yellow targets that can be seen on the structure are for optical monitoring using a total station (A modern theodolite with electronic distance measurement). This would be used to measure to me or even sub mm accuracy. The GNSS may have been used to establish an initial Ordenance Survey grid coordinate to setup the monitoring network.

    But I digress, the real issue is why was a full geology survey not completed before building a massive and heavy structure on a cliff top!! Utter madness and goes against all best practice in design and construction. The waste of council tax payers money by the Labour Administration in the vale is downright disgusting. They should be brought up in front of some sort of ombudsman to explain the massive waste of money that this and other vanity projects has resulted in.

    • Tim Hughes says:

      The best may to measure this would be with a DEMEC gauge with an accuracy that could measure the movement caused by the sun coming out. It also has the advantage that the small pips glued to the surface can be left there for years and would be unlikely to suffer from interested little hands. I don’t think that plastic stick on gauge will last long.

  4. sjleworthy says:

    Gaffa tape and chewing gum should fix any issues.

  5. Peter Church says:

    The only Space, is the empty space between the ears of the Councillors who approved this waste of money (soon to be a complete waste)

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