RESIDENTS, traders and politicians have united to condemn the cutting down of mature trees in Colchester town centre.

The Gazette yesterday reported how contractors employed by Essex County Council felled nine trees, in Crouch Street, on Monday.

The council said the roots of the trees were causing uneven pavements, so they were being chopped down and “boxed” to ensure the roots grew downwards.

Norman and Gaynor Bailey, of nearby Cambridge Road, said they were shocked to see the “desecration” caused by the contractors.

They said, while one or two parts of the pavement were uneven, axing the trees was an over-reaction.

Mr Bailey said: “We were horrified.It was a lovely row of trees. You could see there was no disease.

“They could have put a little fence round. Something could have been done.”

Lucy Craymer, an interior design assistant at Simply Living, in Crouch Street, said she wanted to know how much the work cost.

She added: “I’m appalled they have chopped mature trees down. They’re not going to grow back overnight. It will take 50 years.

“I have never experienced any problems with the pavements.”

Driving instructor Roger Bradshaw, who regularly uses Crouch Street, said the loss of the trees was “outrageous”.

He added: “I think it’s a wholesale slaughter of trees and it’s totally unnecessary.

“It’s a very pretty street, and to cut down all the trees for that reason is not right.”

Keith Gunton, owner of Crouch Street delicatessen H Gunton, said: “The general reaction from customers is, ‘why have they done it?’ and ‘what a shame’.”

Martin Hunt, Colchester Council’s deputy leader, also said he did not agree with the loss of the trees.