Chesterfield headteacher fears playground trees pose danger

Brampton Primary headteacher Wayne Parkinson, with staff and pupils and the offending trees that are causing damage to the school grounds and buildings.
Brampton Primary headteacher Wayne Parkinson, with staff and pupils and the offending trees that are causing damage to the school grounds and buildings.

A furious headteacher and parents say they are shocked that Chesterfield Borough Council bosses have blocked plans to remove trees which they fear pose a growing danger to pupils.

Three lime and sycamore trees were cut down at Brampton Primary School, on School Board Lane, Chesterfield, after parents and governors became concerned about roots creating an uneven playground.

Fears have also raised about other 30ft tall trees which are pushing a wall over while the roots damage the school’s toilets.

But now a protection order has been slapped on the trees - meaning they can not be chopped down.

Headteacher Wayne Parkinson said: “Myself and the governing body spotted an uneven surface which is undermined by tree roots causing significant problems.

“We decided to remove trees and to try and access grants to resurface the playground and put in better play equipment but after removing three trees the council placed a temporary preservation order on the rest.”

The council imposed the order after complaints from residents who insist the trees are a local amenity.

A council sub-committee upheld the order as permanent after a meeting on June 25 and has only allowed the school to remove two more trees.

The council decision comes despite 114 objections.

Mr Parkinson added: “Our report says trees are making a mess of our playground. If there are things more important than children’s safety then the council should let us know. I won’t stop until I’ve done everything I can.”

The school is considering going to the High Court.

Chesterfield Borough Council claims a tree preservation order will not prevent Brampton Primary carrying out work to its playground or drainage despite concerns roots are damaging both areas.

Councillor Terry Gilby said: “If the school feels it necessary to carry out work on any further trees, they can apply to do this and we will consider their application carefully. The tree preservation order does not prevent the school from carrying out work to the playground or to the school’s drainage.”