Scaffolding collapses on to six vehicles in Southsea

CRASH The scene this morning.  Picture: David Brawn
CRASH The scene this morning. Picture: David Brawn
From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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RESIDENTS have told of their shock after scaffolding attached to a hotel collapsed and crushed six cars.

High winds tore the structure from the side of the Best Western Royal Beach Hotel, in St Helen’s Parade, Southsea, causing the scaffolding to crash on to vehicles in Alhambra Road.

The scene in Southsea.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (0000-2982)

The scene in Southsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells (0000-2982)

Part of the hotel’s balcony also came down with the scaffolding.

Luckily no one was hurt in the incident, which happened at about 8am today. The four storey, 120 bed roomed hotel, is fully booked.

But the incident is likely to have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Officials from the Health and Safety Executive are assessing the scene.

Alhambra Road is completely blocked by the fallen scaffolding and police are standing guard at either side of the scene which is surrounded by blue and white police tape.

A group of firefighters from across the country who were staying at the hotel for a training course were immediately on scene to see if they could be of any assistance.

Alhambra Road resident Barry Fleming’s Ford KA was parked in the street and was one of the vehicles crushed when the scaffolding fell.

Mr Fleming, 46, said: ‘I just passed my test last week. I can’t believe it.

‘Its completely crushed our car. You can’t repair that - it’s a write off.

‘I did hear a loud bang at about 7.45am when I got up, but I didn’t know what it was.

‘Then I came down and saw the scaffolding. It’s even taken away some of the railings outside the hotel.’

Partner Lorraine Clarke, 49, added: ‘I feel like crying. I’m just glad no one got hurt.’

Chris Gilmore, general manager of the Best Western Royal Beach Hotel, said: ‘We got the phone call from residents on that side of the building saying that the scaffolding had collapsed westwards.

We immediately went to see what had happened.

‘It has been up for six weeks, it was due to come down last week but because of the delay due to the weather it was still up.

‘It was up for painting and repair work to the building.’

This latest incident comes eight months after residents in Alhambra Road and the surrounding areas had to be evacuated from their homes when a fire destroyed derelict Joanna’s Nightclub.

The scaffolding has partially collapsed into the building site where the club once stood.

Portsmouth City Council has sent out a structural engineer to assess the safety of the scaffolding.