Sunday, 20 July 2008

Repair Bill To Rise to £1.5 Million

THE bill to repair Torquay’s prized Rock Walk could rocket to £1.5million — more than twice the price originally estimated by Torbay Council.
A new survey released yesterday revealed parts of the cliff face are more dangerous than first thought and will need extensive works.
Deputy mayor Cllr Kevin Carroll said: “I am quite prepared to say it will be £1.5million, it wouldn’t surprise me if that is what it comes out as. We started looking at this costing £600,000 at the beginning of the year.”
Cllr Carroll vowed Mayor Nick Bye and the Conservative administration would not ‘run away’ from the problem.
He said: “Whatever it costs we will do it, this is about Torbay and its heritage. It is about the Royal Gardens and we can’t just walk away from this.”
admitted the administration had taken a ‘lot of heat’ over the decision.
The report released yesterday by Tavistock-based consultant engineers Frederick Sherrell Ltd reveals clearance of shrubs in January showed Rock Walk had a ‘very irregular rock head profile with numerous unstable pinnacles and areas of loose, fractured bedrock which were not visible during previous inspections’.
There are two areas of rock face deemed ‘very high risk’ by the report, another labelled ‘high risk’ while other areas are deemed ‘medium to high risk’ across the 10 sites identified needing repair.
Cllr Carroll said: “The most important thing to say is this report proves we were right to strip away the trees and identify the real problems, because if we hadn’t done that there would still be problems we couldn’t see.
“The professionals, the engineers, and the cultural services people were concerned behind the growth there was a big problem waiting to happen, so we took the decision on the advice of the professionals because of the risk to public safety.”
It means the focus of the Royal Gardens will have to change too, as the geological reports says only the ‘central and easternmost paths’ will remain once the stabilisation work is done.
The work will include installing rock fall netting, removing footbridges, digging six exploratory bore holes, installing six-metre long rock anchors and cutting back further vegetation.
Torbay Council has also submitted a bid for Government funding specifically for cultural and heritage projects towards works of art and a viewing platform for Rock Walk which could grace the newly-repaired rock face.
It is expected the barrier around the crumbling site will remain in place during the works which are estimated to take eight months to complete.

More news as it comes in. Work should start in Septemebr and I will cover as much as I can.

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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