Ipswich: Borough teams’ battle as town battered by gales

IPSWICH: The town is today bearing the scars of a heavy beating by the weather.

Borough staff were kept busy yesterday clearing fallen trees and branches from roads across the town.

Teams were called out at midnight yesterday after a huge tree blew down across Reynolds Road on the Gainsborough estate.

They spent some time cutting up the tree to ensure the road was open and safe ahead of the morning rush hour.

Elsewhere, Clive Avenue, off Henley Road, was blocked after a mature cherry tree came down and officials from the borough were called out to investigate after getting reports that a tree was leaning dangerously in the Belstead Tree Belt near Balmoral Close.

A council spokesman said few trees in the borough’s parks were seriously affected by the wind – although a large branch was blown off one tree in Christchurch Park and in Chantry Park a cedar tree had to be cordoned off after a high branch was dislodged.

Arboriculture chief at the council, Andy Whalley, said: “We got off pretty lightly really considering the force of the blasts.

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“Some of this is down to the rigorous inspection policy we have in place – we certainly don’t sit back and wait for trees to fall before taking action.”

However, they were called to deal with the other incidents of fallen trees across Ipswich.

“Our team responded rapidly – they were out during the night clearing a couple of roads and making sure all debris was removed from pavements, parks and open spaces.

“They were still out during the day, fencing off areas and trying to assess the possibility of further damage. Safety is our top priority.”

Another issue faced by the council was wheelie bins being blown over and their contents being carried by the wind.

The spokesman said: “If there are high winds we would recommend that householders leave their bins somewhere sheltered before they are collected.”

There are collections tomorrow morning – from homes that normally have their rubbish picked up on a Friday but have had it delayed by 24 hours because of the Bank Holiday on Monday.

There were major power cuts in rural areas as a result of the winds.

At 3pm yesterday a spokesman for UK Power Networks, which manages power lines, said around 5,500 of their 3.5million customers in the region were off supply spread across 200 different small incidents.

The spokesman said it was mainly rural areas that were affected.

Staff worked through the night to restore supplies.

Last night, the weather continued to batter the county and in Southwold the Harbour Inn reported a deluge of flood waters at 7.30pm as the tide topped flood defences.

The pub was inundated with at least six inches of flood water.

However, weather forecasters predict the high winds will die down as the weekend approaches.

n Were you affected by the high winds? Were you impressed by the clean-up operation? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstar letters@eveningstar.co.uk