Residents have been left feeling angry after mature trees were chopped down as part of the regeneration project at Laindon Shopping Centre.

Swan Housing Association, which owns the centre, has made ambitious plans to transform the tired-looking shopping area with new shops, a health care centre and high-quality new homes.

This development, which will be named Laindon Place, is due to start in spring.

Robert Drury, 40, of Langdon Hills, claimed that Swan had never informed residents of their plans to remove 25 mature sycamore trees, which were adjacent to the war memorial.

He said: “I must express my utter disbelief and dismay at the destruction and removal of the trees outside of the Laindon Centre. I am absolutely furious at their decision.

“If you look at the plans for the new developments the trees are still in the picture.

“I am supportive of the housing association carrying regeneration works for Laindon Centre but there’s no need for them to remove the trees because there is no reason to.

“This was not stated in their planning. The trees have been there for more than 50 years and sycamore trees grow very slowly.

“I assume that they will replant the lost trees, but again we weren’t told of anything.

“Our area is a semi-rural place and if we keep chopping down trees we lose the character.”

A Swan Housing Association spokesman said: “The existing centre is not an attractive place for residents to visit and our plans will not only result in more trees on the site than exist now, but there will significant improvements to the public realm at Laindon.

“A new garden will be installed on the podium and high-quality landscaping around the war memorial, giving it prominence.

“Many of the trees that are being replaced have been found by expert arboriculturalists to be low quality and all will be replaced by high quality trees of appropriate specimens and maturity.

“We are confident that Laindon Place, when completed, will not only be more green and but also have public spaces local people actually want to use.”