The two large horse chestnut trees outside the Accrington Market Hall have been chopped down ahead of a £2 million renovation scheme.

Workmen arrived on Sunday to remove the trees which have stood outside the building for around 50 years.

Conservative councillor Peter Britcliffe said he was ‘very sad to see the trees go’.

He said: “There are two different views on it. Personally I’m very sad to see them go but there’s also a train of thought that it will show the full glory of the Market Hall.

“That might well be the case but it’s always a big thing when you lose trees like this. People feel like it is part of the heritage.

“It’s changed the area, whether for good or for worse only time will tell.”

During a public consultation in September 2016, 41 people supported a ‘preferred option’, seeing all trees removed and replaced with new ones, and ten people backed an alternative option retaining the large horse chestnut.

A further 15 people said both horse chestnut trees should be retained.

A council report said removing the trees would ensure buildings ‘of significant and historical importance’ (the Town Hall and Market Hall) would not be obscured, allowing them to be ‘the focus of the town centre.’

Retaining the trees, it argued, would restrict space for events.

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