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Dover District Leisure Centre reopens after high winds, with damage to LocknStore solar panels

By Sam Lennon

A new £26 million leisure centre is back in business today after high winds forced closure.

Dover District Leisure Centre had to shut down yesterday morning after solar panels from a neighbouring buildings were ripped away and flew off.

The centre, which opened exactly two weeks ago, had to shut for the rest of that day but reopened this morning.

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The new leisure centre Picture: Paul Amos
The new leisure centre Picture: Paul Amos

Both police and firefighters had been called to the scene at Honeywood Parkway, Whitfield.

Police had to stay there for 11 hours to keep people safe and away from danger, such as through a road closure.

There had been gale force winds of up to 65mph.

A Kent Police spokesman told Kent Online: "Officers were called at 10.19am after high winds caused a number of solar panels to be blown into a car park.

"Officers closed the road and Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene.

"Police were stood down from the scene at around 9pm."

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "KFRS was called at 10:18 yesterday to reports of solar panels being blown off a roof due to high winds.

"One fire engine attended and the crew cordoned off the area to protect the public from further falling debris.

Debris from the roof of LoknStore was moved around by the high winds Picture: Rebecca Moseling‎
Debris from the roof of LoknStore was moved around by the high winds Picture: Rebecca Moseling‎

"A nearby building was evacuated for a short time as a precaution. The road was closed by Kent Police."

Places Leisure, which runs the centre, had warned customers on Facebook at 10.49am yesterday: "Our centre has now closed and will be shut for the remainder of the day due to a neighbouring buildings roof being compromised in the high winds.

"The closure has been advised by the fire brigade and of course the safety of our staff and customers is absolutely paramount."

Early this morning the company confirmed that the £26 million centre was open as usual along with its feeder road.

It is understood that the winds ripped solar panels from the roof of the neighbouring self storage businss LoknStore.

Local people filmed the panels and other debris flying along the paths surrounding the buildings.

LoknStore, which opened last December, also confirmed that it had to shut that day.

It reassured its customers that no items stored were affected by the damage to the building.

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