A SIXTY-FOOT oak tree has been felled to make way for the new Marks & Spencer store in Cheshire Oaks.

Despite tree preservation orders protecting other oak trees on the site, contractors felled two trees because it would have provided an obstacle for large lorries delivering stock.

Grenville Lomax, of nearby Hilbre Drive, spotted the tree’s disappearance last week.

He said: “This was the one that helped to give the area its name. It must be 100 years old.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council spokeswoman Laura Johnson said the council had agreed to let M&S cut the trees down.

 “Initially we said we wanted to save as many trees as possible," she said. "Now the building is up, one of M&S’s consultants said it’s not safe to have that there as close to the retaining wall.”

A spokeswoman for M&S said: “We were very sad to have removed two trees, an Austrian pine and a common oak.

“This is not a decision that was taken lightly. The trees were in poor condition and we needed to ensure safe access to the site for the team.

“We are delighted to confirm that we will replace the trees with black poplars, a native but increasingly rare British species, and that we have fully recycled te trees into street furniture and wood chippings that will benefit the local community.”