An avenue of trees in Grange Cemetery in West Kirby has been cut down due to safety fears.
The graveyard and adjoining park was closed on 13 February due to high winds and heavy rain amid fears the trees could pose a risk.
Following a subsequent inspection, contractors arrived on site on Monday morning to cut down the trees, to the dismay of some locals who questioned whether they needed to be felled.
A council spokesperson said: “These trees have been inspected on several occasions and found by a number of arboriculture experts to be decayed or in such an overall health condition that they require urgent felling.
“As a result of another recent assessment from a tree expert, further damage and deterioration of these trees has been identified and they continue to pose a significant risk to the public and require urgent removal before the park can reopen.
“The Park cannot re-open until an assessment has been undertaken by our arboricultural specialist and until he is satisfied that the trees no longer pose a risk to the health and safety of visitors and users of this park.”
The Friends of Grange Park believe there are potential bat roosts in two of these trees and the council says it has appointed a specialist bat ecologist to conduct a thorough survey. The council says they will not be removed until this is complete and “any issues arising have been appropriately addressed”.
It will be working with Friends’ groups to look at the design and species of tree selected for the replanting.
It has dismissed as “entirely false” accusations that trees are felled for financial or commercial reasons, insisting they are cut down as a last resort when they are a risk to public safety, and that in this case the wood will be taken to Royden Park for use for “a range of operational purposes”.
It adds that the “relatively small number” felled for safety reasons across the borough will be far outweighted by the thousands planted in coming years.