Trees on a popular woodland will now be protected after concerns they would have been cut down to make way for football pitches.

The tree protection order for the land off Bridge Street in Prestolee was confirmed after a vote at Bolton Town Hall this week.

This comes after controversies to create five-a-side football pitches, a bike library and changing facilities over the woodlands, prompting widespread concerns from people living there.

Cllr Debbie Newall, of Kearsley, said: “This is a massive amenity to the residents of Prestolee and its about concern to the residents and to me that removing the trees could unplug flood defences in the area.”

Cllr Newall, who had applied for the original tree protection order to be put in place, said that Prestolee had been plagued by a history of flooding.

The Bolton News: The woodland is now protected by a Tree Protection OrderThe woodland is now protected by a Tree Protection Order (Image: June Clarke)

She also pointed out that the trees are believed to have bats roosting in them and argued that the woodland has long been well loved by the people of the surrounding village.

Cllr Newall said: “Its an area of great affection, the people hold this area in great affection.”

She added: “We believe, and this is what we asked for, that these trees need to be protected.

“They are a massive asset to the area.”

The tree protection order had been brought for debate before the council’s planning committee after objections raised by Tunde Olasupo, founder of Farnworth youth charity Believe Achieve CIC.

Mr Olasupo had initially put forward his idea for the new football pitches and facilities on the woodland area.

He now said that he had objected to the tree protection order because of safety concerns and argued that the trees were unsafe.

Mr Olasupo said: “I have so many letters written from young people who we are representing here today asking us to help keep them safe.”

He added: “Our intention here is not to obliterate nature but to help preserve lives.”

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But committee members including Cllr Andy Morgan, of Heaton, Lostock and Chew Moor, asked Mr Olasupo about the professional advice he could call upon to say that the trees were unsafe.

Cllr Morgan said that he like many others had climbed trees as a child.

He argued that unless evidence was brought to them that the trees were unsafe, they should encourage youngsters to “get off the PlayStation” and “allow children to play".

The committee members voted unanimously to approve the tree protection order.