Calls for conservation area to be brought up to scratch

A COSTLY COMMITMENT?: Sudbury town councillor John Sayers on land to the rear the town's Sainsbury's supermarket.

A COSTLY COMMITMENT?: Sudbury town councillor John Sayers on land to the rear the town's Sainsbury's supermarket.

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Sudbury Town Council remains intent on taking on a wildlife area behind a town supermarket despite fears about the implications of managing the site.

The conservation area – on land to the rear of Sainsbury’s in Cornard Road – is likely to become the responsibility of the council in the coming months.

It is home to a variety of rare flowers, lizards, newts and slow worm and is regularly visited by conservationists.

Although the council has stated a commitment to manage the site since 2006, when the land was owned by housing developer Bovis Homes, town councillor John Sayers said he had reservations.

“Initially, everyone thought it was a good idea and I supported that, but now you have to think of the cost of making it safe and it could be a liability for our ratepayers,” he said.

Mr Sayers said perimeter fencing and trees needed to be secured and rubbish cleared.

Sainsbury’s, which completed the building of its store on the former William Armes factory site in November, has signed an agreement to make a £10,000 payment to the organisation taking on the land.

But Mr Sayers said he did not think this would be enough long-term.

“It won’t go a long way in this day and age,” he said. “The plan is for schoolchildren to visit the site so it has to be safe and we cannot just leave it to mother nature.”

The topic was discussed during a town council meeting last week, when town clerk Sue Brotherwood admitted there were “outstanding issues”.

“In its current state, it would be a burden to the town council,” she said, adding that the authority was still keen to take on the site.

Council members agreed to take on the land provided Sainsbury’s undertook or paid for necessary work beforehand.