Abseiling experts about to climb over the edge of Penarth Head Cliff to examine the subsidence that’s causing the structural failure of the Labour Vale Council’s Penarth Head Viewing platform.

Arborists and structural experts were abseiling part-way down the cliff-face of Penarth Head yesterday to try to ascertain just how much damage the former Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council has done to Penarth Head Park and the fragile cliff structure at the top of the cliff.

The experts have been specially brought-in to examine the continuing development of structural faults in the 2-year-old 150 tonne Penarth Head Viewing Platform.

Steel safety barriers which had been installed for safety reasons to keep the  public away from the cracking Penarth Head Viewing Platform  were taken away by the Labour Council in February this year – but the cliff edge of the park remains fenced off

The heavily-criticised Penarth Head Viewing Platform was seen as a political “vanity project”  embarked upon by Labour Vale councillors in 2015 with no planning permission, no public consultation and  – it would now appear – no geological advice.

The experts working on the face of the cliff-top told local residents that  they had been instructed to clear back parts of the cliff edge and face in order to find out “what was going on”  – and whether it would be possible to reinforce the subsiding structure.

The abseilers had to back their way through dense undergrowth to reach the cliff edge and lower themselves down the face.

An expansion joint is being torn apart as the 150 tonne structure unzips itself.

The experts – armed with chain saws –  were working suspended by ropes on the face of Penarth Head – up to 15 feet below the cliff top with a 200 foot drop below them.

They said that the expansion gaps and bricks to the front and on the ground had already been re-pointed and that these had definitely moved again since that repair work was carried out.

One of the experts carrying out the examination said he was not sure anything could be done to remedy the situation and thought that at least part of the viewing platform would eventually “end up on the beach”.

The cost of the structure and the subsequent repairs and surveys is said to be approaching £250,000.

The Labour Party was kicked out of office on the Vale Council in the May 2017 local elections when the Conservative Party took control.

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