FURIOUS nature lovers want to know why rows of healthy bushes have been destroyed to make way for a supermarket car park.

Vinci Construction, the firm which is building the long-awaited £30million Pitsea regeneration, has flattened the site off Rectory Park Drive, Pitsea, which was used as a car park for market shoppers and leisure centre visitors.

It is set to become the car park for a huge Morrisons superstore, but one much-loved feature will be missing.

About 280 metres of berry-producing pyracantha bushes, which birds feed off, have been dug up. The move came despite plans for the new car park showing similar greenerywill be used to divide rows of parking bays, in the same way the pyracantha bushes used to.

Graham Wallis, 50, who works at Belson & Sons opticians, in nearby Pitsea Broadway, slammed the contractors for the “unnecessary destruction”.

He said: “I just don’t get what these people are thinking. Why couldn’t the dividing beds stay?

It looks like they are going to be putting something similar back anyway.

“I want to know a good reason why this abominable destruction was considered necessary. I was mortified when I first saw what they had done. I am saddened by the destruction of this environmentally significant feature.

“I know the car park in Pitsea has long been considered a hotspot for some unusual birds.”

In January, families reacted angrilywhen 100 year-old willow trees lining a footpath in Gifford Green, Pitsea, were given the chop to make way for a back entrance to the 75,000sq ft Morrisons, despite having preservation orders on them.

Resident David Greene, 65, said : “We are losing wildlife and the environment because of the regeneration. It’s such a shame.

“The problem is nothing seems to be getting replaced.

“It seems to us like they’re allowed to go ahead and do what they like, and just get permission for it afterwards.”

The supermarket, which is due to be completed by Christmas, is the last phase of the regeneration, which also includes a new market and replacement Aldi store.

Paul Murrock, project manager at Vinci Construction, said he could not comment on the issue, but was working with Basildon Council after receiving a complaint.

A Basildon Council planning spokesman said: “The Pitsea regeneration project has been thoughtfully designed around a structured landscaping scheme.

“Its shrub replanting programme begins this December, in plenty of time for flowering next spring, and features among others, 824 cotoneasters, 920 elegantissimas and 350 escallonias, as well as about 100 new trees.

“Our intention is to provide a natural camouflage to the development for the benefit of neighbours.”