It’s proposed that the Mark II Penarth Head Walkway would be built (like this project in New Zealand) on a “porous” rockfill causeway running along the shore, around Penarth Head from the Penarth Northern Promenade to the Cardiff Bay Barrage. It would be underwater at high spring tides.

The Welsh Labour Government is providing the Vale of Glamorgan Council with a grant of £100,000 of taxpayers’ money to fund what’s described as a new “feasibility study” for a “Mark II” version of the infamous Penarth Headland Link project.     

The Welsh Government – which constantly pleads poverty and claims it doesn’t get given enough money by the UK Government –  is attempting to re-start what has been described as a  “disastrous Labour vanity project”.

The original Penarth Headland Link was to have been a series of steel bridges built on angled concrete pillars. It was described as being “over-engineered” and went so far over budget that construction was never started.

In 2007 the first (“Mark I”) Headland Link project ran into uncontrolled overspends and wound up costing taxpayers more that £26,000,000  – with absolutely nothing to show for it.

How the Penarth Head walkway (it was supposed to be a cycleway too) would have looked had it ever been built. Millions of pounds of public money was wasted on the scheme before it was cancelled 

In November 2015 there was a packed public meeting at Penarth Pier Pavilion  for the official launch of a consultation exercise to establish the degree of support for a new (Mark II) attempt to build the ‘Headland Link’ from Penarth Esplanade along the rocky shoreline to the Cardiff Bay Barrage. [ see PDN report on https://tinyurl.com/opohqne ]

Unlike the original scheme, it’s proposed that the “Mark II”  version for the Headland Walkway would not be designed to be built on angled concrete stilts ( like its disastrous and unbuilt predecessor ) .

The proposed Mark II Penarth Headland Link Walkway is now to be the subject of a feasibility study by the Vale of Glamorgan Council which is to be funded by the Welsh Labour Government .

The Mark II design would comprise a rock-fill causeway running along the shore at a distance from the cliff face varying between 15 metres and 25 metres (to avoid any danger of rockfalls) . This amended version of the project was predicted (three years ago) to cost half the budget-busting total of £26,000,000 wasted on the previous  2007 scheme .

Along the top of the causeway will be a 6.5 metre  wide thoroughfare which will have dedicated lanes for cyclists and for disabled users .It is also supposed to be  wide enough for emergency vehicles and for  “road trains” to use.

The whole scheme is based on the belief that it’s too difficult for pedestrians to skirt the headland by walking along the beach – as they have been doing for centuries.

An impresion of a "Plaza" and car-park at the Penarth end of the Headland Link by distinguished Penarth architect Chris Loyn

An impression of a “plaza” and car-park at the Penarth end of the Headland Link drawn by the well-known Penarth architect Chris Loyn

At the Penarth end, plans are less clear but it’s envisaged the causeway would be connected to a car park and a commercial / retailing “plaza” which it’s hoped might  generate the funding required to maintain the entire length of the structure .

This “plaza” edifice would be mostly hidden from view behind the cliff and would not be as high as the old – and now “much missed” – multi-storey car park demolished by the Vale of Glamorgan council in the early ’90s. Critics say this multi storey car park should have been properly maintained by the council and should ever have been demolished.

The old multi-storey car park was demolished and is now "much missed"

In one of the worst and most wasteful decisions ever taken by any local authority, the Vale of Glamorgan Council – with the assent of Penarth Town Council – demolished the 1960s  multi-storey car park – which is now “much missed”. The Vale planners wrongly claimed the car park had “concrete cancer” – but in fact the structure was perfectly sound .

On the foreshore the causeway will be built higher than the existing groynes which are built out at right angles from the cliff,  but will not be high enough to avoid “over-topping[ i.e. flooding] at exceptionally high spring tides .

On such high tides  the Mark II Headland Link causeway would be closed.  The causeway will be “porous” – i.e. unlike the Cardiff Bay Barrage, the tide will flow through it –  rather than around it .

The groynes running out from the Headland Cliff are to stem erosion. Three sections of the foreshore are privately owned

The groynes running out from the Headland Cliff are intended to stem erosion. The Mark II Headland Link causeway will be built over them at a higher level . Three sections of the foreshore are privately owned

It’s been established that there are three different freeholders who own parts of the foreshore which are not in public ownership . [A substantial chunk of  the foreshore was acquired by the  War Office when it built an artillery fort at the cliff top before WW1 . This was subsequently sold off to private property developers ] .

[PDN Note: There is a full PDN report on the 2015 public meeting on the Mark II Penarth Headland Link on   https://tinyurl.com/opohqne ]

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Penarth Daily News email address newsnet@sky.com. 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. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
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  1. Jane Daviess says:

    Colleys walk from Jacksons Bay to Whitmore Bay in Barry is a similar structure and has been very popular for many years and provides a lovely walk between the bays.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      The ” Deadly Walkway of Merger” is the long awaited movie sequel to Welsh BAFTA award winning “Operation zipwire” tells the story of a crack hit squad of retired Dads Army troops from Cowbridge. They heroically fend off invasion from Cardiff by joining their pavement with er…..um….. Cardiff.
      Not Now Showing at a closed Pier Cinema near you.
      Archie Con- Servatione as the Corrupt Heritage Architect
      Clements Colley as Sir Billy Butlin Boot Camp Commandant and Zipwire Stunt Man
      Ed Land as Chief Wildlife Habitat Destruction Consultant
      AND the heroic Penarth Council Tax Payers who cunningly build a desperately needed Car Park instead.
      ” A real Cliff Hanger”- Buzz -off.
      “Whatever you do don’t see this ” -Timed Out

  2. Name supplied says:

    Fantastic idea. Let’s hope it works out as planned

  3. Nick Penberthy says:

    Where’s Mr Gething; lobbying for some of this budget? Or is he content with his status quo?

    • Arthur says:

      He’s happy to overseer the destruction of the Welsh NHS to force its privatisation on us all just for his 30 pieces of silver.

  4. Andrew Fidoe says:

    What a waste of public money, the NHS is going down the pan, so we will build a walkway to the bay fantastic

    • hopenotnasty says:

      The Welsh Assembly is funded by the Conservative Westminster government and in 2010 embarked on AUSTERITY which has meant a 25% decrease in funding for the NHS across the U.K. The English part of the NHS is being taken apart and privatised at this very moment. This will mean Tory supporting company’s like Vigin Care will pocket profits which should have been spent on patients.
      There is no privatisation in Wales and long may it remain so.
      The walkway would be a great asset for the town.

  5. penarthblog says:

    I’m no expert on this, but it seems to me that data from previous research could be used to good effect.

  6. Racist Mark (aka Mark Foster) says:

    They have the gun emplacement on the top of the cliff and now they have been told to build this 6.5 metre wide roadway pretty sharpish for the tanks to defend Cardiff Bay, when Vlad’s great Russian destroyers sail up the channel to rescue you from your corrupt Labour and Tory parties.

    Here’s Sir Humphrey Applebey on the Theresa May meeting yesterday,

  7. Tom Perry says:

    Could the Tory run VoG Council not say ‘no thank you’?

  8. Dizzydeb says:

    Could not just a small chunk of this money be spent on cleaning up Penarth ‘dustbin by the sea’!
    Just walk around the streets it’s the dirtiest place I’ve lived. The houses at the entrance to Penarth are having a costly facelift but the rubbish all along the street opposite looks terrible. More effort needs to be made to educate residents not to put their rubbish out early and definitely more bins, the ones on the streets are overflowing! Come on VofG and Penarth Town Council, a big clean up is required before spending on anything else!

    • snoggerdog says:

      with you there dizzy deb,glebe st is a wonder in itself & on weekends it plumbs new depths from the throwaways,sorry takeaways,we have in this area awonderful lady called dorothy who (unlike me) gets off her keyboard & voluntarily cleans the streets & the lanes so wayne doesnt have to struggle to work thru all the detrius,big hi-five to dorothy neighbours.


    • Birkett says:

      Have to agree, Penarth is nowhere near as ‘smart’ as its reputation would suggest.

  9. whatsoccurin says:

    The Barry island Causeway is now very impressive and there are places on the Island where the high tide overflows without damaging the surface-I am sure the Penarth walkway could be constructed but still a bit cynical about it ever happening.

  10. Peter Church says:

    Can we have something a bit like the railway at Dawlish Warren?
    There would be flashing lights and barriers everytime there is a high tide!

    • snoggerdog says:

      the per-way has spent the last few winters putting the dawlish coastal track together again.

  11. Ford Prefect says:

    There are a number of benefits if this does go ahead. One is that it would protect the cliff face from further collapse. Secondly, it would mean people can park their cars on the barrage and walk around to the Esplanade, this would provide large boost to the businesses down there. Thirdly, it would provide a safe (from car drivists) cycle route to the barrage and Cardiff Bay / Centre, which would help discourage car use from residents living on the esplanade, and the knock-on effect this has at Cogan and elsewhere.

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