A 'much loved' tree in an East Lancashire township has been officially protected after a councillor confessed to having climbed it in her youth.

Overton ward's Cllr Heather Anderson made the revelation as Hyndburn Council's planning committee authorised the special preservation order on the oak at the junction of Water Street and Windsor Road in Great Harwood.

It follows requests from residents for a permanent tree protection order.

Cllr Anderson said: "I grew up around there and played under that tree.

"I probably climbed it at some point. I have no problem with this order."

Hyndburn Council's chief planning and transportation officer Simon Prideaux told the committee a permanent Tree Preservation Order (TPO) would not 'sterilise' the open land surrounding the oak and prevent sensitive development of the site.

Cllr Heather Anderson backed the TPO planCllr Heather Anderson backed the TPO plan

Cllr Anderson's Overton ward colleague, Cllr Scott Brerton, backed the move saying: "It's a much loved tree.

"It's a win-win situation as the order will protect the tree but doesn't sterilise the site for development."

An officer's report to the meeting on Tuesday from Katy Morley, the authority's arboricultural and conservation officer, said: "A temporary TPO was put on the Oak tree but this has now expired.

"The council’s arboricultural officer visited the site on August 15. 2023. and believed that on the basis of the contribution the tree made to the character, appearance and amenity of the area, that the tree would benefit from being protected.

"This tree has had poor pruning in the past probably due to the removal of branches low over the road but has now recovered enough to make a well-balanced tree.

"This tree makes a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the area."

The committee voted unanimously to make a permanent tree preservation order on the oak.