Removal of two mature London plane trees from Ridgway St has Whanganui resident Bob Hays perplexed.

Mr Hays questioned why the Whanganui District Council had cut down the trees at the corners of Ridgway St and Drews Ave, exposing "one of the ugliest buildings" in the central city on one corner.

"I love having those beautiful big trees in the city and the shade they give on cars during the summer," Mr Hays said.

"But the council cuts them down and then they replace them with spindly ones that don't grow so big."

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Council parks team leader Wendy Bainbridge said the two plane trees were planted in the mid-1990s.

Their removal is part of a council policy to remove and replace trees within the central business district when they get too large, Ms Bainbridge said.

"During an average year, up to three or four of these trees may be replaced with younger specimens. This approach relates specifically to plane trees, which are fast growing and need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years because of their impact on underground services and root damage to footpaths.

"The council has developed principles to ensure trees remain part of our future urban development and that public expectations about how they are managed are met."

Ms Bainbridge said the principles were part of the Street Tree Strategy which was developed collaboratively with the community.

The cost of removing and replacing a tree was about $4000 per tree, depending on the location of the tree and its impact on adjacent infrastructure.