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Alan Johnson said in a public forum at a meeting of the board this week, the council’s policy "smacked of coercion".
Mr Johnston led a petition, which gained more than 30 signatures from Molyneux Estate residents, seeking the removal of seven London plane trees in Henderson Dr, due to their roots damaging the footpath and causing trip hazards, and creating leaf issues during autumn.
Mr Johnson said they had grown to exceed height restrictions and presented a health and safety hazard.
Community board members agreed with him.
After going into formal meeting on Tuesday, the board waived the 50% cost of tree removal, authorised the removal of the trees and agreed to plant replacements, as determined by the parks and recreation manager Gordon Bailey.
Mr Bailey told the meeting it was common where there was a problem with trees for the cost of removal to be shared with those seeking their being taken out, but he conceded the Henderson Dr plane trees were "the wrong trees in the wrong place".
With the payment condition scratched, board chairman Martin McPherson explained the decision to Mr Johnston.