CLADDING from Southampton's IKEA store was blown from the city centre building in winds - but bosses say work is already underway to fix it.

The Swedish flat-pack furniture store, on West Quay Road, was damaged in the strong gusts from Storm Ciara, which battered the UK on Saturday with wind speeds of up to 80mph.

The high winds caused some of the cladding to come away from the store, leaving a hole in the side of the building.

But IKEA chiefs say control measures are now in place while repair work to the building is carried out.

Richard Brown, Safety and Security Manager, IKEA Southampton said: "The safety of our customers and co-workers is always our highest priority. We can confirm that damage was caused to the cladding of the IKEA Southampton store as a result of strong winds on Sunday 9th February.

Daily Echo:

“Working with Hampshire fire and rescue service, the damage was assessed, and control measures have been put in place. We are continuing to work with engineers to repair the damage caused."

Mr Brown said the store remained open as usual.

As previously reported in the Echo, Storm Ciara caused travel chaos across Hampshire on Saturday.

It brought down trees across roads and railway lines across the county and forced ferry services to be cancelled between Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

One driver was killed when a tree crashed onto a car near Winchester during the height of Storm Ciara.

A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: "We are investigating after a tree fell onto a car on the A33 during the storm on Sunday (February 9) and killed a man.

"The 58-year-old man, from Micheldever, was driving his Mercedes from Winchester to Micheldever when the tree fell just before 4pm."

The man has not been named and police say his next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

The road was closed for several hours while emergency services attended.