Wednesday, 21 May 2008

ROCK WALK COULD BECOME £1M 'GEOPARK'

I was begining to wonder what was happening. The report was supposed to have been out on May 1 but has been delayed while the council decide how to tell us it will cost even more than they expected.

From the Herald Express
20 May 2008

The true state of Torquay's crumbling Rock Walk won't be known for another fortnight.News of a delay in the geological reports comes as it has been revealed the cordoned-off cliff face could be transformed into a giant artwork as one of a series of £8.2million cultural projects for which Torbay Council could seek £4million from the Government's new Sea Change cultural regeneration funding.

Councillors are tonight being asked to agree a shortlist of projects including the £1million Rock Walk Geopark art scheme, £2.8million for a new arts centre and more at Cockington Court, a contribution to the £1.8million Berry Head restoration project, and £1.35million harbour front improvements scheme for Brixham as part of its fish market regeneration scheme.

These would leave Torbay Council to find £4.2million, including £2million from the South West Regional Development Agency and other sources such as the Heritage Lottery funding for Berry Head, and other council sources included sums included in budgets and not yet ring-fenced.



The report says the council has had 'positive discussions' with the RDA who are 'in principle prepared to provide a contribution to the Sea Change match funding subject to the normal business planning and appraisal processes'.

It had been hoped the Rock Walk report would be published at the end of last week. But Cabinet member Chris Lewis has confirmed it has been held back so the findings of a topographical survey could be published at the same time.

"It looks as if we will need more netting than expected to secure the rock face, but we don't know much more than that at the moment," he explained.

The geological report is needed to allow the consultants to design the redevelopment plan.

Both surveys have now been completed and are being amalgamated. The final report and recommendations are expected by May 30.

A report to Cabinet tonight says the council knows it needs to spend 'a substantial sum' on repairing the cliff face and it is considered Sea Change funding could create an opportunity to match this with a further £1million enabling the creation of 'a powerful artistic statement' as a focal point for Torbay's Geopark status.

The report says: "The site would be integrated into the 'string of pearls' idea for the Geopark across the Bay with particular emphasis on the links to transport interchanges, the seafront, coastal footpath and, in this particular case, the Cockington project."

The Cockington Court 'creative hub' project has been valued £2.85million with a £1.9million bid to the Sea Change pot of funding.

The scheme envisaged is for Cockington and its surrounding area, including linking the country park with the seafront.

Innovative ideas might include a park and ride, dedicated cycle hire and cycle tracks and sculpture trail.

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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