Supermarket chain Morrisons has been refused permission to expand one of its most popular stores - despite support from residents and town councillors.

Braintree Council’s planning committee said extending the Witham shop by 70 per cent went against policies to protect the town centre’s viability and vitality.

Witham mayor Michael Lager said: “They wrongly believed they were saving Witham's town centre from collapse, but instead have condemned shoppers and residents in the “deprived” northern half of the town to second class shopping in a second class store.

Morrisons said it will consider its options.