An “iconic” 100-year-old Monkey Puzzle tree has been cut down with “no warning”.

The rare tree, which tree surgeons said was “dying”, has stood in the centre of Hale village in Ashley Road for almost a century.

It first had a number of its branches chopped off by Trafford Council back in 2017 after they started to turn brown and die.

Yesterday morning, the last of the tree’s remaining branches were lopped off its top by council tree surgeons, but residents say they knew nothing about it until it was too late.

According to Hale Civic Society, the tree was planted around 1920/1921 to stand next to the bowling green alongside the main road.

Just two years ago, a group of residents successfully pressured a developer to redesign their plans for flats alongside the tree in order to save it and there have been a number of protests to look after the tree in the past.

But this time, people living nearby say they didn’t get any notice from Trafford Council about plans to fell the much loved “symbol of Hale”.

Denise Laber, of Hale Civic Society said: “If you’ve lived in Hale all your life, you’ve grown up with [the tree].

“It really is a symbol of Hale and we’ve had so many protests over the years, people were asking when it would be ok for them to tie themselves to the tree.

“It would have been better to be transparent on the part of the council.”

Rick Blears, who helped the campaign to save the tree in 2017, said: “We had half the village up in arms. The developer backed down and redesigned the apartments. This time it was a done deal before hackles had time to rise. Sad.

“No word of warning. Goodbye to Hale’s iconic Monkey Puzzle tree.”

Hale Civic Society branded the council’s decision to cut the tree down as a “sad day for Hale”.

Twitter user Brian Coombs said: “Butchered by Trafford Council last year through poor tree surgery! Got it… The tree has made way for the new entrance to the car park on the bowling green… Well done Trafford Council we didn’t see this one coming!”

Colin Adams added: “Dreadful.”

Some are concerned a nearby signal transmitter, installed next to the tree a few years ago, may have damaged the tree, leading to its needing to be cut down.

Facebook user, Jonathon Hollingsworth, said: “All the branches died of microwave radiation from the high output cell phone transmitter next to it so they cut all the branches off. Looked a right mess.

“Now its being removed completely. Hope a new one is going to be planted away from the transmitter. I think the transmitter operator should pay for a new one to be planted!”

Beechwood Industries, a Lymm based tree surgery company, removed the century old tree yesterday on behalf of Trafford Council.

They tweeted this morning: “It was Monkey Puzzle Monday, yesterday, as one of our teams remove[d] a large, dying Monkey Puzzle in Hale town centre for Trafford Council.”

Trafford Council was contacted for comment.