Six large trees were cut down in Post Office Lane on Monday morning after it was discovered they would be too close to the decking and glass walls of new eateries on the side of the former Myer site development.
Only one maple tree remains, at the far end of the narrow laneway.
Collins bookstore co-owner Phillip Schwebel said the lane would be "completely ruined" by the destruction of the trees.
"They just decimated the beautiful trees. They were quite stunning."
Mr Schwebel said he went to collect his mail on Monday when he saw workers cutting down the trees.
He said it appeared no replacement large trees would be planted in the lane.
Mr Schwebel said too much space in the lane had been given to the new development.
Orange City Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the problem of the trees' location had been discovered as the development was progressing.
"It became clear that the edge of the new decking and the glass walls of the businesses would be right up against the trees," he said.
And he said a water main underneath where the new decking will go needed relocating and would have impacted the trees' roots.
"For these reasons approval was given for six of the seven trees to be removed," he said.
Mr Redmond said a landscape designer would work on the future look of the lane.
"Because of the awnings over the deck, there won't be the same need for shade in the laneway, so there mightn't be the need for large trees," he said.
"Council continues to own Post Office Lane."
He said the council's arrangement with the developer which allowed the decking in the lane would produce "long-term lease income."
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