Supermarket chain Morrisons claims shoppers could go out of town if plans to extend its Witham store are turned down.

The retailer hopes to increase the sales area of its Braintree Road shop by 70 per cent, creating 50 jobs, a bigger café and new photo department and dry cleaners.

But Braintree Council planning officers have recommended councillors refuse planning permission next week, fearing Morrisons would take trade from Tesco in The Grove Centre - and in turn, Tesco shoppers would not shop elsewhere in the town centre.

They also argue it could affect the planned revamp of the ageing Newlands Shopping Centre.