Tuesday, 4 March 2008

From the Herald Express. 04 March 2008


04 March 2008

Torbay mp Adrian Sanders today said 'serious questions' need to be raised over the extent of work at Rock Walk.But, he added: "It's cock-up rather than conspiracy."As work began on a giant £43,000 barrier to allow traffic to resume along Torquay's main seafront road, the MP questioned if such widespread clearance of the cliff face was needed."Everyone loves a conspiracy theory but I'd err on the side of caution," he said.

"People have asked me why the work was carried out in the way it was and I don't have the answer."I'm not a qualified engineer but even I know that if you slash and burn such an area you are bound to make it less stable."(How do you know that? At what university did you study such things?) The scale of the works has surprised everyone and serious questions are being asked about the necessity of such extensive clearing of trees and shrubs that, historically, have held in the cliff face and prevented rock falls."(Says who? A man in a pub?)This is an example of a lack of attention to detail on the planning front and, I'm afraid, that's another consequence of having a elected mayoral system."He added: "Cllr Chris Lewis is being fronted up for everything to do with Rock Walk but he doesn't have the executive decision-making powers."He has to run everything by the mayor or his deputy."With the old system, at least the cabinet could take a decision."Sure they made plenty of mistakes, but this is the kind of example of the problems you get when one person is responsible for everything."

The words in brackets are mine, they did not appear in the paper. Maybe they should have? Shortly after this little message was published Torbay Council issued the following Press Release:-

Rock Walk update

Cabinet Member Councillor Chris Lewis said: "The scaffolding works at Rock Walk are on schedule to be completed within the allocated two-week time frame."The scaffolding framework is progressing at a fantastic rate and is due to be completed by tomorrow evening (Wednesday). The substantial structure will then have additional one tonne weights placed down the centre to provide further stability should a rock fall occur."The seaward road is currently being re-marked in preparation for two-way traffic and the boards that will cover both sides of the structure will start to go up from Thursday this week and painting will start from Friday 7 March.

"Geologists Frederick Sherrell Ltd will be on site next week to start a full survey of the rock face. This should take no more than two weeks and the resulting report is expected by Thursday 1 May. We will then be in a position to tender the contract - practically this could take up to three months and being mindful of the noise and disruption the work will cause we hope to have work started on site immediately after the summer period.

"It would appear that some people still believe that the stability issues at Rock Walk have been caused by the recent clearance work and I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight."A geological report carried out on Rock Walk last year highlighted major areas of concern regarding the stability of the rock face and some of the large trees. However, the extent of the issue could not be identified until the trees and scrub had been cleared.

"Despite recent speculation I can confirm that the trees have been cut off at the base leaving a tree stump and at no time during the works were any tree roots disturbed - therefore we did not create the problem we have simply exposed the full extent of it. "There was a possibility that areas of the rock face/trees could have come down onto the road below and therefore carrying out remedial repairs would not have sufficed.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank local residents and businesses for their continued patience. I know that the essential works have been extremely hard for many in the area but their safety has to be our main priority."

(And an extra big thank you to all the bus drivers who have been coping so well with the diversion and all the extra work this has caused them.)

Once again the words in brackets are mine. They did no appear in the press release, maybe next time.

Paragraphs 3 and 4 appear to be having a dig at Adrian Sanders MP (Lib Dem) who should know better. He turned up at the site, had his photo taken and, according to eyewitnesses spoke to no one before leaving. He then made a statement (see above) to the press in which he admitted he wasn't an expert but made a assertion that only an expert should make. An assersion that is, in fact, incorrect.

This photo is of a rose bush in my garden. It never flowered,probably because it never got enough sun light. So two years ago I decided to put it out of it's misery and cut it down. I didn't dig the root up and last year and again this year it is demonstrating that the roots are still working. Same with the roots of the trees and bushes that are still there on the cliff face. So how,come the cliff face is falling down even though, as some people believe, the roots were binding the cliff face together. They haven't gone so they must still be holding the cliff up. Actually the roots were the cause of the problem. Roots bind soil together, they push cliff faces apart. The only difference is now when a slab of rock comes tumbling down the cliff face and smashes into my bus it wont have a 15 tonne tree attached to it.


Anonymous said...

"even I know that if you slash and burn such an area you are bound to make it less stable."

What a pillock!
1)Well, if you didn't take the tress out and it would soon be even less stable, and:

2)"Slash and bun" When the hell did they set things alight? Slash and burn is a method that farmers use to clear rainforest in Brazil!!

David said...

Like I have said somewhere else, I too am glad the trees have gone. Now when my bus gets hit by a slab of rock there wont be a 15 tonne tree attached to it.

Notes about the blog. Updated 08 March 2008

Not much is happening at Rock Work now. All the work clearing the trees has been done. A barrier has been erected to prevent rock falls from reaching the road. Now we wait for the geological survey in May to see what can be done to fix the rocks in place.
After that when work starts again later in the year I will post more photos.
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