Strong winds cause damage to The Oracle

The Oracle which was damaged by high winds on Wednesday
The Oracle which was damaged by high winds on Wednesday

Part of a main road into Blackpool was closed for nearly 24 hours after metal ducting came loose on the roof of a young people’s centre.

Strong winds are believed to have dislodged the air conditioning ducting on the roof of The Oracle on St Anne’s Road on Wednesday afternoon.

A member of staff at the centre, which is mainly used as a pupil referral unit, called Blackpool Council to report hearing unusual noises coming from the roof on Wednesday afternoon.

Crew Manager Steve Milner from South Shore Fire Station, next door to The Oracle, said firefighters had been asked to assess the roof at around 4.30pm on Wednesday.

“Our concern was to ensure there was no immediate danger,” he said.

The council closed the road between Watson Road and Waterloo Road at 5pm amid fears the ducting could be blown off the road and injure someone.

The closure caused disruption to evening traffic and rush-hour commuters the following morning.

Around 40 pupils who normally attend a pupil referral unit at the building yesterday either had their lessons cancelled or were taught at another building in the town.

Their parents or guardians were informed the night before.

The road re-opened at 3.30pm yesterday afternoon after contractor Rope Access Inspection made the roof safe. A council spokesman said a one-metre square section of ducting had come loose but had now been secured. He said the council would be raising the issue with another contractor, Conlon, which had led on construction work ahead of the opening of the £4.2m building in summer 2012.

Paul Jones, the council’s service manager for property and estates, said: “We closed the road as a precaution in case something fell onto a pedestrian or car.

“We’ve had some strong winds over the last couple of weeks so we’re pretty sure that is what has caused the ducting to be dislodged. This hasn’t happened before here.”