Father and son in shock after Regent Arcade hoarding collapse
A FATHER and son were injured when a gate and hoarding at the entrance to Cheltenham's Regent Arcade fell on them.
Concerned bystanders stopped as the gate, along with a two metre-high piece of signage, came crashing down.
It is understood to have been caused by a lorry attempting to exit the High Street site, which is cordoned off as builders carry out a £20 million revamp of the shopping centre.
The father was left with blood pouring from a cut to the ear and the youngster had a bump on his head. Their injuries are not thought to have been serious.
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It has prompted concerns over the safety of the busy street, with pedestrians having to contend with heavy lorries and diggers rumbling past to access the site every day.
Bosses at Regent Arcade have already called for an immediate inquiry into what happened.
Photographs captured in the immediate aftermath of the incident show the man cradling his son in his lap, concern etched across his face.
Eye-witness Steve Taylor, 46, from Oakley, who was walking past at the moment when the boards fell, said: "It could have been nasty. The gate and panel fell right on top of them as they were walking along.
"It happened after one of the contractors' lorries left the site and hit the exit gate.
"The driver came out straight away apologising and checking they were okay.
"The man had blood coming from his ear and the kid had a bump on his head. More than anything I think they were both in shock."
Traders in the area, next to the junction with Winchcombe Street, said they were concerned not enough had been done to warn pedestrians about heavy machinery along the busy thoroughfare.
Nizo Durmuf, who owns Poppins Café, in Winchcombe Street, said: "We get lots of lorries coming past every day and it is one of the busiest pedestrian areas in the town.
"I don't know why we haven't got temporary traffic lights in place."
The year-long renovation, due to finish next May, will result in a new H&M and an enlarged River Island as well as a new façade. John Forward, Regent Arcade manager, has asked to be told the full circumstances surrounding the accident.
"I was very sorry to hear about this," he said.
"Our security staff offered to call an ambulance after it took place but were told it wasn't necessary.
"I will be speaking with Willmott Dixon to find out exactly why this happened."
Willmott Dixon, which is responsible for the regeneration of the site, and Gloucester building contractors Smiths, were unavailable for comment last night.
â Are you the dad hit by the falling gate? Contact the Echo newsdesk on 01242 278081.