STRONG winds and heavy rain buffeted the town yesterday, causing damage to trees and buildings, with further stormy weather expected this morning.

Flood warnings were put in place by the Environment Agency between Cricklade and Highworth and around Royal Wootton Bassett throughout the day.

Wiltshire Police issued a weather warning to all motorists for a six hour period from 9am to 3pm yesterday after heavy rain overnight.

Standing water on the roads throughout the county continued to pose a hazard to motorists, and extra care was urged to anyone travelling during the day.

Swindon Council said it had a number of contingency plans in place for circumstances which would arise from flooding or high winds, but that operations would likely resume as normal.


Swindon Advertiser:

HSBC bank in the town centre had to close and be barricaded off due to tiles being blown off the building by high winds


At around midday, the branch of HSBC on Canal Walk had to close temporarily after a panel became dislodged from its roof due to high winds.

A maintenance team and officers from building control at Swindon Council attended the scene, and the panel was removed by a cherry picker.

And what is believed to be the oldest tree in Lydiard Park was damaged in the storm, as its branches were torn away by high winds.

Wiltshire Police were called to the M4 between Junction 15 and 16 at 10.30am where a large branch had fallen onto the road, blocking the hard shoulder and half of lane one.

The Highways Agency attended the scene and removed the branch within half an hour.

Two separate crashes also occurred overnight in the Purton area, both as a result of ice on the road near the Pear Tree Hotel. The first occurred just before midnight, and the second at 7.30pm on Sunday evening. None of the drivers were injured.

There were some success stories to come out of the adverse weather however.

Haydon Wick’s £6m flood alleviation scheme started to prove its worth, as it has kept the rising waters at bay.

Richard Hailstone, chairman of Haydon Wick Parish Council, said: “Had the flood scheme not been in place residents would have been very worried they would have had to deal with flooding, but because it is in place the water level has not reached anything like the heights it would need to rise over the flood defences.

“It seems to be working, which is good because over the past few days we have had continuous heavy rain passing over the area, and there is more forecast to come.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed it will hold.

“Had it not been there, people would have been worried there would have been similar flooding here to other parts of the country, but hopefully this will give people some peace of mind.

“We are very pleased it is finished. It protects a mile long stretch with either flood walls or embankments to hold back the water level.

“I think there certainly would have been problems in some areas had the scheme not been there, particularly in some lower lying areas there would have been a risk.”

The worst of the weather today is expected to be between 8am and 1pm, with similar high winds and rain affecting the county.