DOZENS of trees have been chopped down to make way for new care homes on the Northgate Arena car park in Chester.

More than 20 trees lining the outskirts of the leisure centre car park have been reduced to stumps after workmen chopped down the trees last week.

Residents living on Northgate Avenue and Victoria Road were surprised when the trees, which formed a border around the car park, disappeared to make way for the 131 one-or-two bedroom apartments for over 55s in the city.

One concerned resident, collecting a prescription from Rowlands Pharmacy next to the proposed site, said: “All of the trees were cut down at once on one day last week. I have a feeling they will be back to get rid of the rest of them. They are even going to move the post box and everything like that.”

Concerned Brenda Carden, who contacted The Chronicle through Facebook, said she didn't know why the trees were being cut down: “It's really sad as now spring is coming there will be less places for the birds.

“The ironic thing is the company dealing are called Tree Medic! Tree massacre more like!”

Arena Housing Group, which is developing the site in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council, confirmed the trees had been felled to make way for the extra care housing facility apartments on the three-acre site.

Lorraine Donnelly, of Arena Housing, which also owns affordable housing schemes at the Post House, Tower Wharf and Upton Dene, said they had been in constant consultation with the community and authority about the development, and reassured residents that the landscaping would be replaced.

“Northgate will be no different from our other developments. I am sure there will be lots of plants and trees in the landscaping to replace the trees which were originally there,” she said.

“We have to go on site, we have had lots of consultation with the local people in the area, work should begin on the site within the next couple of months.”

A Cheshire West and Chester Council spokesman said the felling of trees was preparatory work following planning approval for the site, adding: “The scheme will deliver 131 apartments for shared ownership and sale, quality communal facilities and a day care service.

“Construction is expected to start in the summer and be completed in summer 2014.”