Stoke-on-Trent City Council has removed the ‘poor quality’ trees after starting work on the regeneration scheme in Albert Square, Fenton.
It involves the creation of a new landscaped area in front of Fenton Town Hall for community events as well as new paving in the square and a permanent Christmas tree pit.
But residents say the trees had been there for more than 70 years and provided a home for nesting birds.
Lee Dempsey, aged 46, who lives in Fenton, said: “I’m not happy – there was nothing wrong with those trees in the first place.
“We had perfectly good trees here, the birds would be flying around.
“The trees have been here for years. This better be good.”
The council is to replace the ‘poor quality’ trees with eight upright oak trees and two magnolia trees. Four new hornbeams will also be planted in front of the town hall.
The work – which started late last month – is expected to take 10 weeks to complete.
Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Stoke-on-Trent is one of the greenest cities in the UK with an abundance of fantastic parks and open spaces and that is something we are rightly proud of.
“We understand the benefits of trees so removing them is never a decision we take lightly, as was the case here.
“We had a lot of discussions with the landscape architect and the conservation officer and it was felt that the best option for the long-term future of the square would be to remove the existing 10 trees and replace them with new ones.
“The trees were not ideal street tree species and there was no way of carrying out the redevelopment without damaging their roots. We couldn’t do any work on the planting beds without affecting most of the trees and two of the cherry trees were physically pushing up the pavement, creating a trip hazard for pedestrians, while others were growing close together and impacting on each other.
“We consulted on the plans with the public in 2019 and generally people seemed happy that any trees that were removed would be replaced. We appreciate the concern among some residents but I hope they will understand the reasons and be reassured that the 14 replacement trees will have good planting pits with more space to grow so they can be enjoyed by the community for years to come.”