CONCERNS over the fate of a tree have been made after builders allegedly dug through a tree preservation order, a neighbour claimed.

Eileen Murray, who owns the tree in her garden in Gib Lane, Blackburn, has claimed builders working on a housing development behind her house have dug through protected land.

The order was made by Blackburn with Darwen Council to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands in the interests of amenity.

However Wainhomes, the company behind the development has said it has not breached the order.

The Eucalyptus tree, which stands roughly 20 feet tall, has been in the garden for more than 20 years.

Mrs Murray, 69, said the workers, who are building 205 new homes on the new estate on behalf of developer Wainhomes NW, have dug through land on their side of her fence but breached the preservation order.

She said: "I'm really concerned about the tree's health because it's not looked the same recently.

"The workers have dug up to our fence, so they haven't touched the bark of the tree, but they've dug near the roots on their side of the fence and they go into the space the order protects.

"I spoke to the workers and they said they were following orders.

"I don't blame them but Wainhomes know about the order because the council have told them about it two times.

"I'm worried the tree maybe damaged as roots may have been interfered with and the tree could die.

"It's a lovely tree and its a great feature for the garden.

"We've lived here for more than 20 years and its been fully grown since then, so it may have been there a lot longer than that."

Plans for the new estate were passed in March last year and follows successful applications for two other sites in the area.

Cllr Jim Smith, environment boss on the council, said: "Breaching tree preservation orders can result in a fine of up to £10,000.

"Their purpose is to keep the tree healthy for the course of its lifespan."

A Wainhomes spokesman said they understood complaints had been made to the council regarding works carried out around existing trees on the development, however no breach had been made.