A plea to lift protection on a row of trees lining a city street, to allow a better view of industrial units, has been thrown out by council bosses.
Owners of a trading estate on Ribbleton Lane had objected to a tree preservation order, as they said the trees caused a visual obstruction to the commercial units.
But Town Hall chiefs rejected the calls, saying it would be “absolutely criminal” to cut down the trees.
Addressing the public meeting, Jayshree Astley, on behalf of Guild Trading Estate owners Threadneedle, said the site had “felt the brunt of the economic down turn”.
She said there had been interest in the vacant units, but said: “Potential occupiers are unconvinced the location will allow their businesses to be seen.
“The tree preservation order will make letting the units more difficult.” She said the owners of the estate were asking the council to exclude three trees from the preservation order.
She said: “The investment is only feasible and viable if the owners can demonstrate that the trading estate is an excellent area to do business, with high visibility.”
But speaking at this month’s planning meeting, Coun Pauline Brown said: “We are talking about one of the main roads into or out of Preston.
“We’ve got the depressing big wall of the prison on one side, and if you take the trees down we would have the depressing side of the industrial buildings.
“It would be absolutely criminal to take down something that lightens the area.”
Coun John Browne added: “Removing them would make what’s already not an attractive area worse.
“It may or may not help to let those businesses in the aftermath of the down turn, but we can’t get rid of an oasis there on that sort of basis.
“I would hate us to do anything harmful to those trees.
“Every tree has a spirit in my view – I would hate to do any harm at all to that situation so I’m sorry but the answer is definitely not.”