Sunday, 25 July 2010

Gone, but replaced by something else.

The Blue Wall along Rock Walk has finally come down a couple of years after it went up. I think Torbay Council should have closed the road while it was being demolished and had a big party with a free bar-b-que and a band playing but never mind, it's gone. The blue boards heve been replaced by a see through fence so we can see what's happening. And what's happening is the walkways and viewing platform are almost finished, slight delay during the week due to high winds, the crane, like Mr Bye's balloon doesn't work too well in high winds. Not sure exactly when we will be able to climb up and have a look across the Bay at Brixham and Paignton, nor when the top pathway which was closed for 4 weeks five weeks ago will be open either but it will happen soon.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

'Singing' sound tests hold up at stairway to heaven Rock Walk opening

A bit more news on Rock Walk from the local paper dated 22 July 2010
TESTS to ensure Torquay doesn't end up with a 'singing' Rock Walk, just as Shaldon had its 'singing' bridge, were behind delays to the project.

Weather permitting, it is hoped to have the striking new walkways and their decorative wire railings open by the second week in August and the lower path open from the end of this month.

However, the contractors have been unable to use the crane in very windy weather to lift into place the dozens of custom-designed and built concrete steps which will form Torbay's own 'stairway to heaven'. Two days were lost last week.

Lighting has already been reinstated on the pathway at the top of Rock Walk after reports of the area again being used by drug addicts.

Work is under way to put in the Mediterranean style planting which visitors should be able to enjoy on the lower path from the end of July.

Contractors are busy finishing off the contemporary stairways and will be installing decorative wire panels under the handrails on which extra tests have been carried out to make sure they don't create unwanted sound effects.

The steel wires are to be individually tensioned and will create a shell-like pattern as the 230 steps work their way up the cliff face. The steps are having LED lights, and bespoke coloured and decorated feature glass installed in each riser and the lights will be visible across the Bay at night.

With the first plants, some giant stone obelisks and a smooth stone edging to the borders have been put in place, the gardens have already taken on a contemporary modern Mediterranean feel.

The opened out lower pathway offers views across the top of the traffic to the seafront and Bay.

It is aimed to take down the existing road barriers by the end of July. Some work will have to be carried out to repair and mark the road surface ready for the creation of the new meter controlled parking spaces, install traffic calming and signs.

A temporary fence will be installed while the roadworks are carried out.

When reopened the parking will be for three hours maximum with plans to increase that to four hours.

Some 2,000 plants will be going in, and 60 cubic metres of cockleshell used as a mulch.

Electricity cables have been installed for the light to illuminate the cliffs and trees and some of the metal and wood benches are in place.

The shelter at the Torbay Hotel end has been refurbished and an art work will be installed.

New flower beds will be created at that end.

A spokesman for Torbay Council said that as the testing had been done by the company providing the feature, it had not cost any more money.

She also said the scheme had not been delayed.

However it was stated in May that it was hoped to have the pathways open to the public by the end of July though some work on the rock face might still have to be carried out.


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Blue Wall will come down at the end of next week and Rock Walk will be open to the public at long last.

Well not quiet.Councillor Lewis, the man in charge said: "Everything is on target at the minute for Rock Walk to be opened to the public in the first two weeks of August.

"We never said that everything would be completed by July 30. We said parts of Rock Walk would be unveiled."

This is a quote from the Herald Express and the article went on to say the walkways could be open by mid August.

So when exactly will we be able to use the walkways as opposed to just looking at them. Same goes for the pathway at the top of the cliff from which the area has got it's local name, Rock Walk?

Sunday, 4 July 2010

More on open soon

The photo shows the work being done on the new walk ways. Soon we will all be able to get up there and take photos by the gigobyte of the Bay.
Below is a recent item in the local paper, The Herald Express, about the opening which is due on July 30 which is a Friday so I wiil probably be working.

A DATE has been set for the public opening of Torquay's £3million Rock Walk facelift.

On July 30 the wraps will finally be taken off the controversial scheme to turn the run-down, overgrown but much-loved gardens into the town's newest tourist attraction.

An official opening is planned for the autumn.

Deputy mayor Chris Lewis said the road system would stay as it is this summer.

Parking would be created on the cliff side lane, currently closed off, and the traffic will continue to use the seaside lane.

It had been planned to swap them over.

Cllr Lewis said: "We want to see what is proposed for Princess Gardens and we don't yet know what is happening at the Palm Court Hotel."

Plans to redevelop the Palm Court failed when the development company went into administration earlier this year.

The council has asked the proposed developer of the Pavilion, and buildings along the promenade, to present details to it next month following a public meeting.

Parts of Rock Walk have been closed since 2005 and the reopening has been delayed because of an extra £550,000 piling operation to secure upper pathways in the £3million overhaul.

At the cabinet meeting this week, mayor Nick Bye agreed to set aside £550,000 from its VAT 'windfall' following a successful tax refund appeal, to meet the unplanned extra costs of the project.

Cllr Lewis said they had saved some money on the project until surveys found extra piling was needed for the new pathways and supports because of the ground conditions.

They had kept to within the original £3million budget.

"We didn't want to cut back on the lighting and artwork which is what will make Rock Walk a special experience," he said.

"If we had cut that spending now we would never have finished it, which would have been criminal."

Pathways and a viewing platform have been created up the rock face which will be lit. Art works are also being created.

At night the multi-coloured night-time illuminations will be visible from across Tor Bay.

Parking meters will be installed on the cliff-side lane and it is hoped to create a new coach stop for the theatre.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Soon to be open again

At last Rock Walk is due to open once again to the public. It was closed in November 2007 as the cliff face was deemed to be unsafe. Trees that had been planted almost a hundred years ago were to blame. Their roots were forcing their way into cracks in the Limestone the cliff face is composed of and expanding those cracks. There was a danger that lumps of rock might crash down onto the busy main road at the base of the cliff. First the trees were removed in a 6 week period at the beginning of 2008. Half the road was closed and a boulder proof barrier was built along the central reservation by ISCA Scaffolding to prevent the possibility of a number 12 bus being hit by debris falling from the cliff. I am glad to say it worked.

Then followed a period of apparent inactivity. The council employed a company to carry out a survey on the cliff face to decide what exactly needed doing to make the cliff safe. In the autumn of 2008 a firm moved in to strengthen the cliff by drilling holes and insetting bolts, hundreds of bolts, into the limestone. Netting was also placed on parts of the cliff and a small area the required concrete support.

Over the last few months work has been proceeding to rebuild the walk ways that zigzag up the cliff so those who wish will be able to climb up and enjoy the views of the Bay and Paignton and Brixham. The footpath at the top of the cliff which is called Rock Walk is also being rebuilt and will open at the same time as the walk ways open. It had been hoped the work would have been completed for the beginning of June but a problem emerged that required extra work. If there are no more problems the area will be open at the end of the month. There will be a formal opening event some time later in the year.

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.
Any news items I come across I will post as they appear in the local paper.

Or you can work through the whole blog to find more detail.

If you left click on a photo you get a larger image.

Each day has the label "Day", click on it and you will miss out the other posts.

Articles from the Herald Express are labelled Herald Express.

And so on.

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