Anger has been voiced in a Northumberland market town after trees which are thought to have stood there for a century were cut down.
Two lime trees on Market Street in Alnwick town centre were felled on Sunday morning. The move sparked anger among people in the town who took to social media sites to voice shock at the sudden removal of the trees.
The trees were among eight on the street which were said to be deteriorating in 2010, following years of neglect. At the time, a rescue plan was agreed, with one councillor saying that “everything should be done rather than fell the trees.”
However, Northumberland County Council has now cut down the two specimens, revealing one was dead and another in “very poor condition,” and confirming they will be replace
The felled trees formed part of a line dotted along the town’s main street, on a cobbled parking area.
Four years ago, Alnwick’s Christmas Lights team - which decorated the limes each year - alerted Northumberland County Council to the state of the specimens.
Alnwick Town Council and Alnwick in Bloom got involved, after it became apparent that at least one of the trees was dying because of adverse conditions caused by the surrounding cobbles.
A site meeting was held and a programme of works agreed with one town councillor saying at the time: “It was agreed by all present that everything should be done rather than fell the trees. The harsh environment of traffic, salt draining down to the roots in winter, compaction, lack of air to the roots, lack of feed and water and so on has all contributed to the trees being in generally poor condition.”
The two trees have now been removed. Photos of the site where they had been felled were posted on Facebook later on Sunday, with a number of users posting angry comments.
Among them was town resident Steve Miller, who told The Journal last night: “Residents in Alnwick today have been stunned by the cutting down of two large trees in the town centre leaving the place looking bare. Apparently everyone has been caught by surprise by this,and many on facebook are expressing their disgust.
“The trees have been part of the town centre landscape for decades, and it looks awful.”
Fellow resident Susan Bell, an Alnwick In Bloom committee member and former town councillor, agreed it was a “pity” the specimens had been removed.
A county council spokeswoman confirmed one of the trees was dead and another “in a very poor condition,” with a “considerable amount of rot.” The work, she added, was agreed in conjunction with the town council, and there are plans to replace with the same species.
The spokeswoman said: “It is always sad when we have to remove mature trees from public spaces. It is important however that we ensure trees are healthy and well managed.
“Unhealthy trees can become unsightly but are also a potential risk to public safety.”