Cutting out the ‘concrete cancer’

The start of the new sea defences at the Vici Park, taken on Tuesday.
The start of the new sea defences at the Vici Park, taken on Tuesday.

WORK is progressing at Victoria Park to replace sections of the 1930s balustrade and sea wall, much of which has suffered from ‘concrete cancer’ because of the salt laden air and water.

Sections had for some time been fenced off and other were bridged with steel poles as the concrete rotted from the inside out as salt attacked the metal reinforcing rods.

Angus Council infrastructure services committee agreed to the works while they were discussing the Arbroath Flood Strategy at their meeting on January 17.

Members heard that consideration of public safety, amenity and aesthetics of the existing coastal defences had identified a need to prioritise the replacement of sections of balustrade and wall repairs along Victoria Park and West Links.

It was stated that the implementation of the first stage of the works could be delivered within the remainder of financial year 2011/12 with the pre-casting and installation of concrete post and balustrade units at Victoria Park during March.

Subject to funding into financial year 2012/13, further pre-casting and installation will be undertaken at Victoria Park and also at West Links, which will comprise pre-cast concrete re-curve wall units.

The West Links sections would be programmed to coincide with the development of the new West Links play area, which is due to be on site from late May to September.

Committee members were told at the time that there would be risks of slippage in procuring these initial works before the end of the financial year. However, it was considered the risks could be managed by the head of roads, with the assistance of the corporate procurement manager, through the application of approved lists of contractors and the use of the Public Contracts Scotland Portal.

A report delivered at the meeting intimated that wave and tidal conditions also introduced a risk to installation activities which could lead to delays in completion.

The Victoria Park and West Links sea defences were installed in the 1930s at about the same time as Arbroath’s famous outdoor bathing pool was constructed.

A forward thinking town council took gangs of men who had not qualified for National Assistance and gave them work on various community projects until they had built up enough stamps to qualify for dole.

Once that objective had been achieved, they then replaced the gangs with other men not receiving state aid.

Arbroath West and Letham councillor Peter Nield has championed the replacement and updating of the sea defences at Victoria Park and West Links.

He stated: “Although the sea wall work being undertaken at Victoria Park is welcomed, the upgrading and eventual replacement is part of the much bigger Arbroath Flood Defence plan, which is awaiting government funding.

“I am pleased to see the current work under way at one of the town’s pleasure and tourist locations.

“Arbroath is undergoing an upgrading in tourist signs, welcoming banners, improved West Links and Victoria Park sea wall.

“Our town is a major attraction to Tayside visitors, as can be seen by the extension to the Red Lion Caravan Park. All Arbroath councillors are working together to continually upgrade and improve the attractiveness and facilities of the town.”