A DESPERATE school governor is pleading for help to save a 150-year-old tree after insurers recommended it was axed.

Simon English, chair of the board of governors at Thundersley Primary School, in Dark Lane, fears the school is stuck between a “rock and a hard place” in its battle to preserve the tree.

According to Mr English, the school has been told the roots of a 150-year-old oak tree on the playing field are growing underneath a neighbouring property.

A root investigation survey on the tree would cost an estimated £45,000 and Mr English fears the financial hit could have an impact on children’s education.

He claims insurers, LV, are representing a neighbouring homeowner and have told the school the tree must be removed to prevent it damaging the home.

He said: “We just cannot see any way forward, we need something done and due to the cause and effect of the damage, a court would rule against us and the entire cost would fall down on the school.

“As chair of governors at the school, the financial sustainability of the school and any funding is my main priority.

“Even if we don’t have to commission an investigation, this is money we simply do not have for this financial year.

“If we don’t have it, it comes out of our education fund for the children at the school.

“I have been put in an ethical dilemma, do I uphold my responsibilities or show we can stand up for this tree that is 12 metres away from what it is impacting?”

Mr English also believes there is an environmental justification to preserving the tree.

“It is a 150-year-old tree, it take a lot of water out of the clay-based soil and its removal would render a large part of our field unusable, it will also impact neighbouring properties,” he said.

Mr English will be meeting with members of Castle Point Council this week to discuss the situation.

LV has been contacted for comment.