An inner city worker is upset after council contractors cut down four trees in the central city.

However Rotorua Lakes Council says the four trees removed from outside the Haupapa St library building this week will be replaced with eight new ones.

"I've just found it quite distressing, no-one was notified," Jenny Harford, who worked nearby, said.

The trees were cut down on Thursday outside the library building, where roadworks to improve pedestrian access were under way.

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Ms Harford rang the council to complain and was told the tree removal was necessary to make way for changes to the road.

"They're just beautiful trees," she told the Rotorua Daily Post.

"I'd hate to think how old the trees are."

The library building is being renovated and would be reopened as a new library and health hub, with health services for children, later in the year.

An upgrade of Jean Batten Park would be part of the library revamp, with trampolines and play areas being added.

Ms Harford said in her view moving the trees would have been a far better solution if they impeded roadworks.

"They could've got an arborist in and replanted them somewhere else. One's just been hacked at."

New trees would be put in on either side of the road, the council said.

"The work that's under way is the construction of a large raised crossing to provide safe access between the library building and the carpark on the other side of the road," a council spokeswoman said.

"Four maple trees had to be removed and will be replaced with eight new trees on either side of the road.

"The work is expected to take a few months to complete and was publicised on council's website and via council social media."