RESIDENTS have been left up in arms after three maple trees were cut down in front of a KFC restaurant. 

Three much-loved mature maple trees in front of KFC in Station Road, New Milton, have been cut down and paved over which has left residents furious.

On private land owned by the building owners that lease it to KFC, outrage has been expressed about how the removal of the trees sets a dangerous precedent for other trees in the area. 

Suzannah Jordan, a New Milton resident, said: "It was an idyllic, beautiful, quiet town and now its changed forever because once they start, they don't stop. 

"They've ruined the flavour of the town and its sophistication and quirkiness and it really annoys me they have got away with it."

Since the trees have been chopped down, the stumps have been removed and paved over which Suzannah reported has also created a trip hazard due to a 'poor job'. 

With KFC taking over the site of a former NatWest, she expressed disappointment it had been allowed to be in the high street in the first place. 

She said: "There was a beautiful corner there and now they've just ruined it. It used to be quite attractive and arty and now it's got a KFC tacky signing and taking the trees away has lowered the tone."

Green Party councillor for Brockenhurst, Adam Parker, said it was decided to remove the trees due to the roots affecting drainage but has also expressed disappointment and argued they should have been replaced. 

However, it is reported no prior warning was given to councillors. 

Cllr Parker said: "I found it shocking and appalling and the fact that no provisions have been given immediately for replacement trees with roots that aren't invasive is very frustrating."

A spokesperson from New Forest District Council said: “We can confirm that these trees are not on public land (and therefore not part of our corporate tree assets), and were not subject to any kind of tree preservation order.”

A spokesperson for KFC said: "We can confirm that the works were completed by the landlord and are not related in any way to KFC."