Gales damage Marina and close road

PUBLISHED: 15:43 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 July 2010

HAVOC: A sandstorm at Gorleston

HAVOC: A sandstorm at Gorleston

Laura Bagshaw

POWER lines went down and buildings were damaged as severe gales battered the borough this week.

Gusts reaching more than 60mph ripped off fascias on the Marina Centre forcing the closure of the swimming pool.

DAMAGE: Gusts ripped off fascias at the Marina Centre forcing the closure of the pool

POWER lines went down and buildings were damaged as severe gales battered the borough this week.

Gusts reaching more than 60mph ripped off fascias on the Marina Centre forcing the closure of the swimming pool.

The Acle Straight was closed to high-sided vehicles for a time on Monday after a lorry was blown over. And hundreds of homes lost power in Belton, Bradwell and Burgh Castle after winds brought down overhead power lines.

Although the windy weather coincided with the spring high tides along the Norfolk coast, the Great Yarmouth area was unscathed by tidal flooding, normally caused by winds coming in from the north.

Wayne Nixon, manager of the Marina Centre, told the Mercury he expected the swimming pool to be closed for about two weeks but stressed all other facilities in the complex remained open.

He said: “We decided to close the pool for health and safety reasons but for all other areas at the centre it's business as usual.”

It is thought some of the fascia mountings had worked out and the wind was able to get behind the boards and blow them off.

On Wednesday, scaffolding surrounded the area and contractors were sizing up the repair job, which is expected to take about two weeks.

Mr Nixon added: “The costs will run into the thousands. We would ideally love to be open for Easter but my gut feeling is we won't be.”

A man escaped serious injury after his lorry was blown over on the Acle Straight on Monday. Emergency services were called to the scene at about 10.30am.

The lorry, which was travelling towards Yarmouth, was blown off the road two miles from town. Police said the incident had caused minimal disruption but the road was then closed to high-sided lorries

Part of St Nicholas Road in Yarmouth was closed by police on Monday after gusts snapped a petrol station sign. Firefighters were called at about 9.15am and removed the sign.

Just after 5pm, Martham firefighters went to a house on Winterton Road in Hemsby, after a plastic roof sheet had blown off a conservatory.

Earlier Monday morning, at about 8.50am, about 2,000 homes in Belton, Bradwell and Burgh Castle were left without electricity after winds brought down power lines. It also forced Waveney First School in Belton to close.

Power was restored to more than 1,000 homes shortly afterwards and to the remaining homes later in the morning.

A spokeswoman for EDF Energy said the company had had extra staff working and was able to restore power quickly.

Gorleston suffered a sandstorm on Monday with promenade benches and the garden opposite the Pavilion Theatre buried in sand.

High winds hit again on Wednesday, forcing the closure of Yarmouth's market for the first time in more than a decade.

Market manager Duncan Mallett said: “I have been here for more than 10 years and it is the first time I can remember cancelling it because of high winds.”

He said the decision had been prompted by recent changes to health and safety legislation and the fact market traders' insurance with the Market Traders' Association became invalid when wind speeds reached 34mph.

Fire crews were dispatched to Devonshire Road in Yarmouth at about 8.30am after a chimney pot became loose and firefighters used an aerial platform to reach the chimney, which they secured.

Major restoration work on the roof of the Town Hall slowed this week as the winds picked up speed.

Jeff Parflow, site manager with contractors MS Oakes, said workers had moved to the interior of the building. He said: “We have lost time but you can't have 25 to 30 blokes clambering around a roof with the wind as it is, but there has been work ongoing inside the building.”

The town hall's temporary roof structure is covered in plastic sheeting and part of that has been ripped by the wind.

“We will replace that because it needs to be watertight,” said Mr Parflow.

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