A READER has contacted the Arbroath Herald to voice his concerns at the replacement barriers which are being installed at Victoria Park by Angus Council.
The original 1930s concrete barriers have suffered from the ravages of time and constant exposure to sea water and are being destroyed by ‘concrete cancer’, where the steel reinforcing rods are rusting causing the concrete to weaken and flake off.
Kevin Barthorpe believes that the metal replacements are inadequate for the purpose. He agrees that it is about time something was done about the corrosion of the existing barriers, but he believes that just putting barriers in with 12 bolts - some of which already seem to be coming loose - to hold them down could be an accident waiting to happen.
Mr Barthorpe said: “I believe that with a little work these barriers could be made safe by adding extension bars on the sides and bolting them to the existing posts. That would make them a lot more secure.”
He also wonders if the council has taken into account how bad it looks to tourists as the repairs resemble a patchwork quilt with mixes of metals and concrete.
Mr Barthorpe continued: “I would have thought with the work being done to replace the crumbling walls, this would have been the perfect opportunity to return the concrete barriers to their former glory.
“Having lost our daughter in an accident at the cliffs seven years ago, it would be very distressing if someone had to go through such a loss when simple measures could have been taken to avoid it.”
He concluded: “I also wonder if the council intends to do something about re-opening the path along the cliffs to the public. After all, what is the point of having such an attraction and then restricting its use?”
Councillor Peter Nield is in complete agreement with Mr Barthorpe’s concerns.
He said: “I agree with everything he has commented upon. Indeed the replacement Victoria Park wall is part of the capital plan but with no help coming from the Scottish Government it is now hard to estimate when it will be done.
“The whole area was going to be part of the Arbroath Flood protection and enhancement scheme. I will continue to push for this being a priority as soon as funds become available.”
He continued: “Victoria Park and the West Links are very important tourist destinations and we must make these areas more attractive. I believe the cliff walk to Auchmithie is under negotiation with adjoining land owners as the path needs to be moved landward. Once again restoring this very popular walk has to be a priority but, alas, the council would rather spend £50,000 sponsoring one woman [golfer] than spend money where it would have the greatest impact.
“What on earth is the point of spending money on attracting tourists if the basic infrastructure is not in place to support their visit.”
The councillor concluded: “I agree that we need a new sea wall, Victoria Park to be made a visitors’ feature rather than just an expanse of grass: i.e. barbecue areas, tables and covered sitting area and the reopened cliff walk.”
A spokeswoman for Angus Council said: “Works on the concrete barriers at West Links were completed at the end of March, and the concrete repairs at Victoria Park are due for completion by Friday this week (today).
“Pedestrian barriers have been installed to replace the failed concrete barriers and additional panels are currently being fabricated to fill the gaps.
“These are due for installation next week. The council is currently looking at the coastline of Arbroath as part of the Arbroath flood strategy.”
She continued: “Sections of the path along Seaton Cliffs are still closed for safety reasons following a recent landslip.
“The council is currently looking at ways to re-open the path in both the short and long term and also making detailed investigations for remedial options.
“Council officers will hold a site meeting on Tuesday, May 17, with the owners of the land, Scottish Wildlife Trust, to discuss the situation further.”