A tree preservation order has been placed on trees in a popular woodland after concerns by the public they could be lost.

Earlier this month, youth club founder Tunde Olasapo had announced plans to build five-a-side football pitches, a bike library and changing facilities over woodlands in Prestolee.

But after objections were raised at a contentious public meeting, the villagers have now succeeded in applying for a tree protection order to prevent any felling  - for the time being.

Cllr Debbie Newall, who represents the area on Bolton Council, said: “We got the TPO put on last Friday and it’s protecting the whole woodland.

“That’s important because sometimes they’re only for individual trees but in this case the whole woodland is protected.

The Bolton News: The trees may be acting as a natural flood defenceThe trees may be acting as a natural flood defence (Image: June Clarke)

“They can leave it in place for so many weeks now, but it can be made permanent by going before the planning committee.”

She added: “The landowner will then have to make the case for why the trees shouldn’t be protected.”

The proposal by Farnworth based Believe Achieve CIC executive coordinator Mr Olasupo after buying the land had sparked widespread concerns in Prestolee.

These ranged from the loss of woodland, the effect on the environment and about how it could add to traffic.

The Bolton News: The trees have been protected by an order for now at leastThe trees have been protected by an order for now at least (Image: June Clarke)

The villagers were also concerned about flood risks in an area that has often had to cope with problems like this.

Cllr Newall, of the Kearsley ward, said: “If you look at the trees you think to yourself that they could be holding the river bank up.”

But since the tree protection order was put in place, the children’s play equipment has been removed, though the swings are still in place.

But Believe Achieve CIC organisers have said the play equipment was taken down for safety reasons and that they still feel the proposals will benefit the community.

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A statement said: “Safety is our utmost concern, especially for our young members.

“After a detailed health and safety assessment, we identified potential risks associated with the current state of the play equipment.

“To ensure everyone’s safety, we have requested the temporary removal of the equipment.

“Rest assured this is a temporary measure while we work on an exciting plan that will significantly benefit our community, particularly our young people.

“We’re committed to creating a space that’s both enjoyable and safe, fostering growth and learning."

It is expected that formal plans for the new football pitches will be lodged at a later date.