Two mature elm trees at the entrance to Clive's War Memorial Pool have been cut down after they developed brown rot.
The trees in Farndon Domain at the entrance to the Clive War Memorial Pool were felled by a Hastings District Council arborist on Monday morning.
The felling has drawn criticism from council activist Jessica Maxwell who says there should have been community consultation.
However, Hastings District Council and an independent arborist say it was inevitable the trees had to come down.
Craig Thew, HDC Group Manager for Asset Management, said in a statement that due to disease and health and safety concerns, the trees had to be cut down.
"A large limb fell approximately three weeks ago on to the access drive, which further heightened safety concerns over the trees.
"They were also located close to the power supply and there was concern the trees could damage this major infrastructure."
Thew said brown rot was typical in mature elms and the community wasn't told of the matter because the felling had to be done.
"Their removal was largely business as usual for council carrying out its duty of care in a public place."
Maxwell said the council "seems hell-bent on felling trees without due diligence".
The trees were roughly 80 years old and were a significant feature of the local landscape and the community should have been consulted and notified of what was happening, Maxwell said.
Hawke's Bay arborist Darryl Judd said he inspected the trees after one had already been cut down.
"I'm an absolute realist when it comes to trees and I went off my own back to have a look at the elm trees down there and by what I saw it looked like the council made the right call," Judd said.
"Along with the health and safety hazard these trees possessed, it would be economically better just to take them down, plant new ones and manage them better than these ones were."