A child at an infant school has been left with a broken bone after tripping over tarmac lifted up by roots from a ‘hazardous’ tree that teachers have been told cannot be cut down.

Woolston Infant School wanted to cut down up to five large trees due to safety concerns back in 2022.

It made a bid to Southampton City Council for the work saying two of the trees' roots are 'taking over the playground and are beginning to be a serious trip hazard'.

In response to this – and after a meeting with the school in November (2022), the council’s tree team put a Tree Protection Order on the trees to protect them from being felled.

A report said that at this visit, ‘two possible options were given’ as alternatives.

The school said it would put in bark-like material on the tarmac to reduce the risk but said ‘the cost to purchase and install this product will be very much budget dependent’.

But now it has emerged, in a letter in June 2023, that a ‘major incident’ happened when a child broke a bone after tripping on broken tarmac.

A staff member said: “These trees are having a detrimental impact on the way we are able to use the playground area due to the risk they possess.

“The roots have cracked the tarmac and there are numerous sufficient cracks in the playground which we have had to cordon off.

“There have been numerous minor incidents where children have tripped on the cracking tarmac, resulting in cuts and grazes.

“There has also been a major incident where one child has fallen over the lifted tarmac resulting in a broken limb.

“In response, I did receive a letter from concerned parents in regards to this incident and the safety of the playground.”

There is also concern about trees damaging a boundary wall.

The member of staff also said the damaged area is ‘restricted’ as it is ‘currently a risk to the three and four-year-old children who (use) this area’. 

One objection to the protection order said: "This poses a huge risk to the school community with the wall in potential danger of falling into the school grounds, putting all school users at risk."

Simon Arthur, the head teacher of Woolston Infant School and also the school’s designated safeguarding lead, declined to comment to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Details emerged ahead of a meeting on Tuesday when a decision will be made on whether or not to continue protecting the trees.