Wildlife which many feared would be decimated by the arrival of a supermarket is adjusting to its new environment.
Conservationists were concerned that the building of Sainsbury’s in Cornard Road, Sudbury, would destroy the number of lizards, slow worms and rare plants that occupy the site.
But they say they have been pleasantly surprised by the resilience of the flora and fauna, and the support they have received from the store.
“At the time of the building work, I was heartbroken at what was being lost, but I feel quite relieved now as we are working to replace the wildlife that was disturbed and bring it back,” said George Millins, who manages the conservation area behind the store.
“We thought working on the conservation area was going to be an uphill battle, but we have received a lot of help.”
Smooth newts, frogs and an “exceptional” population of slow worms occupy land around the supermarket and badger sets and a fox den have also been found.
Along with a team of volunteers, Mr Millins, from Heath Estate in Great Waldingfield, is putting up 16 bird boxes – all donated by Sainsbury’s.
“We want to make a feature of the area and these boxes will encourage blue tits, great tits and jays,” said Mr Millins.
“There is still a lot of work to do but we are really grateful for the donation and these are top-quality bird boxes which will last a long time.”
Reptile barriers, log piles and graded banking have all been put up to promote animals, while wildflower seed has been sown and clearings created in some areas of woodland.
Mark Manning, deputy manager of the store, said he was “passionate” about helping the wildlife thrive.
“We are really pleased to be working with George and the volunteers and want to recreate the habitat that was lost,” he said.
“We want to work with the local community to put something back and make this a better place for everyone.”