Police have sealed off roads onto the Epsom Downs after strong winds ripped off part of a roof at Epsom Downs Racecourse this morning.

The roof of the Duchess stand, which was opened by the Duchess of Cornwall in April 2009 as part of a £38 million development, was torn off at some point this morning by winds which, according to the Met Office, were only gusting at up to 44mph.

The surrounding area and at least one road are strewn with piles of insulating material blown from the roof.

Just three days ago the venue hosted a glitzy black tie New Year’s Eve event at a cost of £95 per person.

Eyewitness Andrew Wills, from Epsom, who was diverted past the wreckage, said: “The roof has just torn away.

“It’s in strips and there are bits of insulation everywhere.

“Police have sealed off the road. You cannot drive over the Downs at all.

“Cars are being diverted through Epsom.

“There’s insulation blowing all over the place. It’s quite a mess.

“It looks like the whole roof has been ripped off.”

Last month a group of brave individuals, including 96-year-old Gertie Painter, abseiled from the building in support of children's cancer charity,CLIC Sargent.

Do you know what happened at the racecourse? Email Lauren May at lmay@london.newsquest.co.uk or call her on 020 87226346.

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