AN Elm Tree is not an Elm when its actually a Lime councillors have decided.

They made their arboricultural decision at a committee meeting when they sorted out the species of the timber on official paperwork.

But their decision to impose a new tree protection order on the three identity swap plants produced a bitter reaction from the owner of one of them.

Blackburn with Darwen Planning and Highways Committee strayed into botanical matters after officials noticed there was something wrong with the 1991 Tree Protection Order (TPO) already in place.

The trees' owner Mr Ashid Mahmood of 15 Lammack Road, Blackburn, came to its meeting on Thursday night to contest the new order.

A report by planning manager Gavin Prescott said: "The confusion with the TPO, as referenced, is relating to the fact that the trees are already subject to a TPO dated 1991, where the tree species were listed as Elm and not Lime.

"This is the reason for re-making the order.

"On October 29, we received a formal full planning application to remove the wall at the front of the property to create a new access and car parking space in the front garden of 15 Lammack Road.

"The proposals were to impact upon three existing mature trees on the eastern boundary of the application site.

"During the assessment of this enquiry, the Council’s Arboricultural Officer, considered the trees in question were worthy of protection

"The trees are situated on the eastern boundary of the property and are all mature.

"The trees are a typical size and age for planting in this area and an integral part of the character of this part of Lammack Road."

Mr Mahmood told councillors that he was alarmed that the imposition of the new TPO only after he submitted his application for a new driveway similar to improvements made at other homes in the street.

He said he had no intention of felling the trees but might need to alter their roots for the upgrade and to make necessary alterations to his house's drainage and gas mains.

Mr Mahmood said: "I feel that this is a deliberate barrier, unjust and unfair."

Committee chairman Cllr Dave Smith said: "The new TPO makes no difference. The tree is still protected as the original TPO is still in place although with the wrong species."

He has arranged a meeting between Mr Mahmood and council officials to try and find a mutually acceptable solution. The planning application is still under consideration.