THE scale of tree felling for the new Cathedral Quarter development has angered Blackburn residents and Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Browne.
As trunks and boughs litter the area around the Boulevard, the priest in charge of the work said as few as possible were being chopped down.
Cathedral canon Andrew Hindley and borough environment boss Jim Smith said felling was being kept to a minimum and carefully monitored.
LibDem planning spokesman Coun Browne, who objected to the logging when the scheme was approved in December 2012, said: “This is municipal vandalism on a vast scale.
“They should have built the development around the trees as they did the original cathedral, not chopping ancient trees down for new buildings.
“I shall be watching very carefully to make sure no protected trees are felled and only those on the original planning application are taken.”
Susan Parkinson from Sunny Bank Road was one of several town centre visitors to object.
She said: “It is horrific and disgraceful.”
“I have seen those trees grow and mature.
“They shouldn’t be chopping so many down. It looks dreadful.
“I know several other people who come into the town centre who are equally upset.”
Canon Hindley said: “Some trees have to be felled for this £33 million development.
“We were very clear about which will come down and tried to save the oldest and most important trees.
“We will make sure only those necessary are felled and will be creating a public realm as good as or better than the existing one, planting many new trees.”
Coun Smith, planning chairman for the original application, said: “The committee took advice from council tree experts and was specific about which trees can be felled.
“I shall be monitoring what happens carefully.”
Blackburn with Darwen council regeneration boss Maureen Bateson said: “The Cathedral Quarter is an extremely important project, to create jobs and transform the town centre, with major improvements in the public realm.
“When trees have to be felled, it is a condition that replacement trees will be planted.”