TWO trees were granted protected status to stop them being chopped down after land was sold off at auction.

A plot of land on the corner of Lammack Road and Hawkshaw Bank Road in Blackburn went under the hammer on Thursday.

And Blackburn with Darwen Council planning and highways committee members decided to confirm an emergency Tree Preservation Order to permanently protect two Norway maple trees on the land.

Borough growth and development guru, Cllr Phil Riley, said: "These are two beautiful trees threatened by the fact that a landowner unknown to us has put this small site up for sale."

Development manager Gavin Prescott said: "The council made the order following concerns raised by a local resident that trees on the land would be removed as the private land was being put up for sale at auction.

"As a result of the concerns raised by the local resident, a Tree Evaluation Method for Preservation Orders (TEMPO) was carried out by the council’s arborist on June 17.

"Two trees were identified as Norway maple species trees which scored highly in terms of amenity value, are in good condition, and likely to be retained between 20-40 years.

"As such, following this assessment, it was considered that a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) should be made.

"The council’s planning manager wrote to the current owners and the official receivers (as the owners have been placed in official liquidation) on June 21, explaining that a formal notice had been made.

"Comments were invited relating to the serving of the notice.

"In addition, the auctioneers were informed in writing on July 25, that a notice had been served on the land, and that they make prospective purchasers aware of this TPO, as this will be a constraint and a material planning consideration, should any prospective purchaser consider developing the site.

"In addition, they were advised to add this notice to the sales particulars and make any prospective purchasers aware of the emergency TPO on the site."