Parks close and trees fall as St Jude’s Day storm hits Westminster

The ‘West End Extra’ reports;

“PARKS were closed and scores of trees were toppled in Westminster as the “St Jude’s Day” storm swept in this morning (Monday) with winds of more than 70mph.

Hyde Park and Regent’s Park were closed by the Royal Parks this morning and Paddington Recreation Ground was shut after an inspection by tree surgeons. All three reopened shortly after midday.

Royal Parks believe they have lost around 50 trees with the figure likely to increase as the clean up continues this week.

Westminster Council has urged people “not to walk underneath fallen branches” following reports that around 15 trees had lost large branches in Bayswater Road and Westbourne Terrace. A team of tree surgeons are now touring the borough securing hanging branches.

High winds caused a crane to buckle and collapse on the top of the Cabinet Office in The Mall. Staff were evacuated while the extent of the damage was inspected

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “As is the case with many other buildings in storm-affected areas, and despite the necessary preparations, there has been some damage to the Cabinet Office building. A crane at the back of the Cabinet Office was dislodged by the storm, and is currently resting on the roof. We are assessing the damage, and the building has been evacuated while we do so.”

Parts of Edgware Road were closed this morning as several trees and a 4ft high wall were blown over.

The London Fire Brigade said they received 412 emergency calls between 6am and 9am.

A Royal Parks spokesperson said: “Staff and contractors have worked hard to open the parks as quickly as possible and keep disruption to a minimum. Our initial estimate is that we have lost around 50 trees from across the Royal Parks, from a total of around 130,000. We will have a clearer picture when we have carried out a full assessment, which could take a few days. Tree works will continue over the coming days and damage may result in further trees being felled for safety reasons.

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