RESIDENTS are mourning the loss of a landmark tree from a development site near Stafford town centre.
Tree surgeons moved in this week to cut down the giant beech tree in the grounds of former Staffordshire County Council offices off The Oval.
The land is earmarked for a sheltered housing scheme by developers McCarthy Stone.
Local residents voiced concerns that the tree was being sacrificed to make way for building work.
But a borough council spokesman said it was being removed because it was in danger of toppling because of seriously decayed roots.
“It is unlikely it would have been granted a Tree Preservation Order because of the diseased state it is in,” the spokesman said.
“It has root decay and because of this it could be potentially dangerous.”
Local resident Peter Taunton, of Lichfield Court, commented: “This tree is a beautiful specimen and it seemed to be growing nicely. We really didn’t want to see it lost.”
And neighbour Terry Winstanley added: “We need more trees around the town, not fewer of them. It’s a loss to the environment.”
Forebridge ward councillor Chris Baron said she had investigated residents’ complaints and proper procedures had been followed to gain permission to fell the tree.
“Our arboriculturalist was satisfied that the tree needed to come down, though I do think councillors should be notified in these cases,” she said.