A NURSERY school was forced to close for a day after high winds sent a tree crashing down on its building.

The accident happened overnight on Saturday so Happy Valley Pre School was shut and no one was injured.

But the property was left badly damaged.

Sharan Bennett, manager of the nursery in Heath Hill Avenue, Brighton, was called on Sunday morning.

She arrived at the school and saw the chestnut tree, which was brought down by high winds, had damaged the ceiling, dented and shifted the roof and shattered window frames.

Ms Bennett said: “The school is a one-storey building and the nappy changing room was damaged.

“I contacted Brighton and Hove City Council’s out of hours building control officers.

“They came out to assess the damage but they did not have the hydraulics and were not qualified to remove the tree.

“It was very frustrating because if the tree wasn’t removed, the building officers can’t fully assess the extent of the damage so I couldn’t get a definite answer on how long I might need to close the school for.

“I contacted parents to let them know the nursery would close on Monday. I couldn’t give them an answer as to when the school would reopen, I was stuck in a limbo.”

Ms Bennett said building control officers removed the tree yesterday and the school was able to re-open.

She said: “They were extremely helpful and did everything they could for us.

“The insurance adjuster came out and they spoke with the council as they need to decide who will organise the repairs. The nursery was just opened last year and this is not something we want now.

“It was very annoying that no one qualified was around on the weekend to carry out tree removal jobs.

“They knew there was severe weather warnings ahead so the council should have been more prepared.”

But a council spokesman said: “Our arboricultural staff were working all through the weekend dealing with fallen trees and branches and were extremely busy because of the weather.

“With this in mind, their key goals were simply to clear roads and make sure fallen trees and branches were not posing a hazard to residents. On this occasion the team had to prioritise their work where roads were blocked.

“The team has revisited the nursery school yesterday to clear the tree off the building.”