A WORRIED neighbour said it was lucky no children were hurt after a school’s giant fir tree collapsed.

Philip Latimer was at his home in Nicholson’s Grove, Colchester, which is directly behind St Thomas More’s Primary School, when he heard a loud crackling on Saturday afternoon.

He and his next door neighbour rushed outside to see what was happening and found the tree had fallen down.

Mr Latimer said: “We thought it was firecrackers but went out and didn’t see anything like that.

“Then we looked through the fence and could see that a massive tree had fallen down and smashed into some chairs.”

Mr Latimer, who has lived on the road for 13 years, said he was worried about how tall the trees had been allowed to become.

He added: “The size they are - I would estimate they are at least 20ft tall - if another was to fall down then it could be a danger to the cars that are parked on the road or pedestrians.

“If the dry weather carries on then you are going to have more trees falling.

“They need to be cut back from about halfway.

“What if a group of children had been near it?

“It is a safety issue - there could have been serious injuries.”

“It could have been awful.”

Headteacher Bridget Harris said: “We were shocked when we heard that a tree came down at the weekend.

Health and safety is a priority at the school and as part of this we have the trees checked regularly and any recommended work is carried out.

“We recently had a large tree taken down from the front of the school as it was at risk of causing damage to the wall in Ernulph Walk.

“We have had extra surveys carried out following concerns raised by the neighbours over light deprivation. “We have always carried out any works recommended whilst at the same time retaining the privacy, security and aesthetic nature offered by our established trees.

“The chairs are old ones which are stacked and stored on the edge of the field and are not used by children.

“We are having the remaining trees assessed again.

“The children will not be allowed near the tree area until this period of dry weather is over and the trees are checked again.

“Any necessary work will be carried out as soon as possible. We are not prepared to take any risks with the safety of the children.”