SHOPPERS were left perplexed after noticing several town centre trees had been hacked down.
Around seven Silver Maple and Alder trees along Standishgate have been chopped down leaving stumps around two foot tall.
While many shoppers thought the trees had been the victim of vandals or those in search of fire wood, council officials have confirmed they instructed the removal of the trees after they were identified as very dangerous.
Not receiving the right nutrients, the trees were cut down and will be replaced with semi-mature London Planes.
The deputy leader, Councillor David Molyneux, said: “We believe trees make a real positive difference to the look and feel of our urban environment.
“Last year, officers noted that the Standishgate Silver Maple and Alder trees were dying due to insufficient available nutrients as they were constrained by the concrete drainage rings in which they had been planted many years earlier.
“They were a hazard to pedestrians and we acted to remove them as soon as possible.
“We will be replacing them this year, and to add instant greenery to the town centre, we’ll be planting semi-mature London Planes, installed with the appropriate safe infrastructure.
“We want to ensure the town centre street scene is as welcoming and attractive as possible.”
One town centre shopper added: “I often sit on the benches by the trees when I come shopping while I eat my lunch.
“Then one day I just noticed that all the trees had been cut down.
“They looked fine to me and now they just look awful.
“The trees added to the area and looked nice, not any more. I hope they are replanted.”