Fourteen wisteria trees in the Heritage Mall have been cut down in a blitz-like operation that shocked residents and business owners.
Shopkeepers said Maitland City Council workers wielding chainsaws appeared some time on Friday evening and began their work.
In the space of a few minutes, all the purple wisteria that had draped over the area for many years providing shade to shoppers was no more.
Workers also took away all the benches on which elderly people used to sit.
Two stumps of the 14 trees were left standing for some reason.
“This happened so suddenly and we feel we should have been consulted,” Tomcat Books owner Sue Tomkins said.
Her shop overlooks the area where the wisteria once stood.
Brittany Ridge who works at The Reject Shop, said: “It’s quite sad because I hear they are going to put up a bus stop where the trees were.
“Council should not have cut the trees down, because many elderly people used to sit in the shade there.”
Robin Berry from Tenambit said: “My husband is not well and he would delight in sitting on one of the benches in the arbour under the shade of the wisteria trees.”
“There was not one day in the week when he would not be sitting there at some time while I was doing the shopping.
“This is a big shock for a lot of people; the wisteria provided shelter from the sun and it was a restful place to sit.
“This is such a shame and we don’t know how council will replace the wisteria. But that is all gone now.”
Kayley Hutcheon from Aberglasslyn said: “Elderly people in particular will miss the wisteria and the benches where they used to sit.
“I hear council now plans to put in a bus stop there.
“I think that is a pretty stupid idea and the place could become a nightmare now.”
A woman who used to sit under the wisteria regularly said: “In Maitland, we can’t seem to keep anything old – lovely things are always being demolished.”
The Mercury was unable to get a response from Maitland City Council yesterday.