Cliff could collapse says council report

The cliff behind the old North Road Hospital site in Infirmary Road Aberystwyth is far more dangerous than previously thought and poses a serious threat to the half-completed flats below. That’s the conclusion of a report by council engineers submitted this week.

The report was commissioned by Ceredigion Council after major cracks developed at the top of the cliff during the summer. A report by engineers commissioned by the developer in October had previously concluded that the cracks only extended down a few metres to the bedrock. This new report points out that the cracks are in line with a fault line exposed near the bottom of the hill in an earlier small landslip and concludes that the whole cliff side could collapse.

Land at the top of the cliff is part of Parc Natur Penglais, a conservation area owned by the Council and overseen by an active committee of local people. They have been continually warning of the dangers of the developer cutting into the hill to make more space for flats. The Council’s report says,
“It is unlikely to be merely a coincidence that they have opened up shortly after the excavation at the top of the slope".

The report concludes,
“There is the potential for a very large rockfall to occur which will affect the amenity of the nature reserve and also impact the buildings and workers below. What is clear from our inspection, and our reading of the available documents, is that there is a serious risk of a large scale landslip occurring which requires urgent attention. The landslip will endanger members of the public accessing the park and workers on the building site.

"The nature reserve is crossed by a number of paths, some of them informal, and it is
possible for members of the public to get to the top of the unstable area quite easily. We suggest that, as a minimum, immediate measures should be put in place to warn members of the public of the possible unstable area.

"We also recommend that the housing developer is made aware of these findings so that they may put in place appropriate safeguards – at least for their workers and any suppliers etc who may have access to the site".

After receiving the report the Council yesterday wrote to the developer threatening an injunction if immediate action was not taken to obviate the danger to their employees and the general public. Warning notices and fencing were installed on the cliff today.