A PRESERVATION order to protect trees in part of Wrexham town centre has been approved despite a warning the town could lose its magistrates court.

Last week, Wrexham’s MP Ian Lucas highlighted the loss of custodial cases to Mold following the closure of the nearby police station at Bodhyfryd.

The Labour politician said confirming a preservation order on trees surrounding the two buildings could either prevent or delay construction of a new custody suite.

However, members of the council’s planning committee were told any constraints could be addressed once a planning application is entered by HM Courts and Tribunal Service.

Speaking at a meeting held at the town’s Guildhall on Monday, Cllr Paul Jones (Lab) echoed the concerns raised by Mr Lucas.

He said: “I recognise people want to protect the trees in that area, but I think the magistrates court is important as the trees in that area.

“All over England and Wales magistrates courts have been getting closed.

“My concern is if we put the tree preservation order on here and make it too restrictive for the Ministry of Justice, it provides justification for them to withdraw from putting custody cells on that site.

“The longer the work is taking place in Mold, the less likely we will retain our magistrates court.

“If the magistrates court goes in Wrexham it will be a significant loss to professional jobs in our area.”

Until recently Wrexham Magistrates Court used cells at the neighbouring police station – but they are no longer available after staff relocated to a new premises in Llay.

Mr Lucas first raised the issue about the lack of custody facilities when news of the move was announced in 2015.

Meanwhile, the court service also objected to the protection order, claiming it would cause a negative impact for the local economy.

But the chair of the local authority’s planning committee said the purpose of the order had been misunderstood.

Cllr Mike Morris (Cons) said: “I would just say that no-one is wanting to preclude a custody suite at the law courts.

“We’re all in favour of that in order to enhance the service they provide and maintain it.

“It’s not as straight forward as some of the things reported in the press about it being the council’s fault.

“By confirming the order, we’re not sterilising the land and we’re not stopping a custody suite.

“What we are doing is safeguarding the trees.”

The majority of councillors voted in favour of approving the order, subject to another tree in the area which was not previously included being added in.