The Vale of Glamorgan Council – which had to close its much-criticised Penarth Head Viewing Platform in November last year after cracks appeared in the walls – has now announced the structure has been re-opened to the public.
The masonry cracks – wide enough to see daylight through – opened up in 20-month-old 150-tonne reinforced concrete and brick structure in mid November last year.
The council had to close the viewing platform to the public with padlocked and chained steel crowd-barriers whilst it commissioned a team of specialist engineers to install monitoring equipment to measure potential subsidence of the cliff edge, the ground around the structure, and any further movement in the structure itself.
The council now claims the result of the survey work shows that the Viewing Platform is “safe for the public to enjoy” – but nevertheless is keeping in place the new rows of emergency post-and-wire fencing it had installed as an additional safety measure to keep people further back from the cliff edge than the original iron railings had.
A council press release says “cracks had appeared in one of the side walls along an expansion joint “ –[ PDN Note:Photographs taken in November show one of the cracks runs diagonally across an expansion joint – and not “along” it.]
The council says the “investigations into the structure have indicated it has not deteriorated further and there is also no evidence of any ground movement around the feature, meaning visitors are free to use it again.”
However the council is to “continue to monitor the site and work with the contractors who constructed the platform to repair any cracking in the near future”.
The council also asserts that the platform “allows wheelchair access with clear views over the boundary wall” – but several wheelchair users have reported that the walls are, in fact, too high for them to see over the top.
The Vale Council statement does not mention the mis-aligned recesses for information plaques, which were wrongly-installed in the parapet of the structure and were lined-up with the windows of nearby homes rather than being directed out to sea.