An Aldershot car park that has been partially closed since a section of ceiling collapsed onto a car will reopen on March 24.

A small area of the ceiling panels on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park in High Street collapsed on January 28, and motorists have been unable to use this part of the car park since then.

Emergency repairs costing £36,000 have now been carried out after it was found that sections of the ceiling were insecure due to damp conditions and the absence of washers - used to spread the load of fastenings - under fixing screws. This had gone undetected during inspections as the fixing points and ceiling are coated.

The ground floor ceiling in the car park has extended headroom to accommodate weekly markets and car boot sales. Although the Thursday market is no longer held there the regular Sunday car boot sale had to be temporarily moved to the Parsons Barracks car park, but this will return to its original home on Sunday March 30.

Mike Bamber, strategic parking officer at the council, said the ceiling collapse had occurred during a visit by officers to the car park. The owner of the car struck by the falling debris has not present at the time and the matter is being dealt with as an insurance claim.

"With the weather we've had, it's been damp and there have been high winds," he said. "We were a bit concerned that one fall had put us on notice that something was wrong and we didn't want subsequent falls with people underneath.

"We're very apologetic to the people concerned, especially those who might have disabilities."

He said that, with other car parks nearby, the council was not concerned about loss of income as a result of the two-month partial closure of the car park.

Mr Bamber added that the repairs mean the car park should require no maintenance for another five years by which time redevelopment proposals may have been put in place.