Storms havoc hits towns and Downs

Fallen tree in Grove House Gardens
Fallen tree in Grove House Gardens

Violent storms have taken their toll on Dunstable and Houghton Regis in the past week, with trees crashing to the ground around the towns.

High winds led to Dunstable Market being cancelled on Saturday, February 15.

But the market will be back in business today, Wednesday, February 19.

Dunstable Town Council is dealing with a 60ft conifer that came down in Grove House Gardens, Dunstable overnight between Friday and Saturday, February 14-15.

A smaller tree was brought down by the high winds in the council’s open space in Markham Crescent, and another came down in Luton Road Recreation Ground, damaging a fence,

Yet another tree fell on to part of the land the team maintains in Willoughby Close.

Central Beds Council has dealt with clearing fallen trees in Dunstable’s Humphrys Road, Liscombe Road, Cookfield Close; in Houghton’s Park Road North and Parkside Drive; and in Buckwood Lane, Studham.

A tree also came down in the Hammersmith Gardens area, Houghton.

Sadly, half a dozen trees have been lost on Dunstable Downs and Totternhoe Knolls in the past week.

A wind speed of 72mph was recorded on the Downs at one point over the weekend.

Chute Wood remains closed due to the high winds.

Storms have damaged the roof above the kitchen at the Chilterns Gateway Centre on the Downs, and a leak damaged some of the cooking equipment.

But undaunted, the determined team set up a temporary catering area, which is all ready to feed hungry half-term visitors.

Pat Redman, the centre’s property operations manager, said: “We’ve found the severe storms have caused damage to the roof and although some repair work has already been carried out, we’re still working with the council to get it all completed.

“We’ve got a bit of a limited menu at the moment and we can’t cook chips and sausages or do cappuccinos and lattes – but there are plenty of toasties, cakes, scones, hot soups and, of course, Bedfordshire Clangers on offer.

“It feels a bit like a village tearoom at the moment!”

The cheery team says: “We’ll keep going whatever the weather!”

Throughout half-term, the centre will have lots of arts and crafts activities on offer for visitors.

It is hoped repairs to the roof will be completed by the weekend.

> Now turn to page 5 for our story about a Dunstable driver’s heart-stopping moment as a storm hit West Street.