Grange School escapes building damage from fallen tree

09/02/2020

School to close for two days after storm Ciara brings down popular tree

A Banbury school narrowly escaped damage to one of it’s buildings when a tree was brought down by storm Ciara.

The tree at The Grange CP School on Avocet Way in Easington was blown over in the direction away from their Key Stage 2 building, rather than towards it.   However the school must now remain closed for at least two days whilst the area is made safe and repairs are completed to boundary fencing.

Headteacher Bev Boswell said, “Our tree surgeon has been; it’s going to take two days to clear…   The trunks are still complete and haven’t fully come to rest. They weigh tonnes and still pose a great danger…   Then there’s the issue of site safety and security and safeguarding of our children. Tomorrow, we will get onto planning to replace the fencing temporarily as soon as possible”.

Ms Boswell is urging people to stay away from the area until the problem is sorted.   She said, “Unfortunately, members of the public are going up to the school site to take a look and take wood. This is madness. Because the trunks have not come to rest, it is extremely dangerous and lethal up there. As well as that, the other trees are swaying and creaking. I am begging you and the people you may know to please stay away”.

In the period after the tree had fallen it is understood the police had to visit the site as members of the public were sawing up the wood and allowing their children to climb on the unsafe branches.

Ms Boswell was grateful to all those who had offered help to remove the tree, but had to decline their offers.   She said, “The tree surgeons (who have Public Liability Insurance up to 5 milllion) are starting work tomorrow. This job must be done by the experts”.

It is understood the tree was very popular with the school’s young people.   Ms Boswell told Banbury FM, “It was a favourite tree amongst the children as it was so grand and majestic. Our children were often seen at playtime hugging it and seeing how many of them it took to hug it. We’re all very upset about losing it.

“We are due a tree survey this coming week to get every tree on the school site recorded and labelled. They are all under preservation orders and this one was one of the oldest and biggest at The Grange. It had been there long before the school was built in 1976.  The fencing was brand new.”

With stronger winds likely to remain for the next couple of days the decision has been taken to close the school until at least Wednesday.   Ms Boswell said, “It is with regret that due to health and safety as well as the safeguarding of our children, I have no option but to close school for two days at least. I know that this will cause childcare inconvenience and I am really sorry about that. I have no option.

“These winds are not due to let-up until Wednesday; it is not going to be an easy couple of days so I ask for your patience at this time.

“I’m just so thankful that this didn’t happen during the school day and that it fell away from school rather than onto the KS2 building”.


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