GLASS shattered around shoppers when part of an Oxford shopping centre’s roof collapsed during a heavy storm.

Trees came down in the strong wind and heavy rain that hit the county in a short burst on Saturday afternoon.

Shoppers had to leave Templars Square shopping centre in Cowley when part of the glass roof broke shortly before 4pm.

Susan Ledgard-Hoile was leading a school student business market at the centre when it happened.

She said: “All of a sudden we heard this massive crash. There was screaming and everyone was coming away from it.”

She said people feared the entire roof would collapse as it was hit by the strong wind and heavy rain, adding: “It brought the glass down and there was a ripple effect and the glass shook. The alarms were going off.

“Most people just froze and looked up. It was amazing no one was hurt."”

A Phones 4U worker, who gave his name as Ali, added: “We thought the whole thing was going to collapse.”

It is understood that no one was hurt and South Central Ambulance Service was not called to the scene.

The severe weather also brought down a large tree in Vicarage Road in New Hinksey.

The tree, which had stood in the garden of The Crooked Pot pub, demolished a brick wall as it came down across the street.

Simone Palmer, from Blackbird Leys, said that police shut both ends of the road after the tree came down during the “horrendous” weather.

The 42-year-old said: “It was huge. There were a lot of bricks and it had fallen on top of a car.”

Warborough resident Sue Chamberlin, 47, said she and her husband were driving to Cowley when the storm struck. She said: “Wheelie bins were blowing about, torrential rain was lashing the road and cars and trees were blowing about in an alarming way.

“We watched one large tree right next to the business park entrance just blow over as if it were a twig.

“It looked as if a mini-tornado had come through. It was all over in a few minutes and the sky cleared as if nothing had happened.”


  • The fallen tree falls lies across Vicarage Road, in New Hinksey, outside the Crooked Pot pub, after it came down in windy conditions on Saturday

Wind speeds reached 55mph on Saturday afternoon at the Met Office’s weather station at RAF Benson and 45mph at RAF Brize Norton.

A large branch of a tree also snapped and fell into Between Towns Road in Oxford and Thames Valley Police tweeted a photograph of a car hit by a fallen tree at Bourton, in the Vale of White Horse.

A spectator marquee at Oxford Hawks Hockey Club, in Banbury Road, was destroyed by the winds.

A club spokeswoman said the marquee was weighted down with beer barrels full of sand and heavy benches when the strong winds hit at about 3.30pm.

She said that it was lifted off the ground and dragged over a fence during a match between Magdalen College School’s boys under-16s and a team from London, which was abandoned.