MORRISON’S announcement that it is “reviewing” plans for a supermarket in Pitsea centre means, to put it plainly, that it could be about to abandon the plans altogether.

If that happens, it will be a devastating blow to the regeneration of Pitsea town centre. The entire redevelopment and regeneration scheme for Pitsea town centre is constructed around the presence of the new Morrison’s.

Pitsea has already undergone substantial convulsions in preparation for the arrival of the supermarket.

The Railway Hotel and the town’s swimming pool have been demolished, because planners and residents considered that they were sacrifices worth making in order to accommodate the Morrison’s store.

Pitsea market has also submitted to being been moved from its historic site.

Construction of the building to house the supermarket is well underway. Cancellation by Morrison would not only undermine regeneration, but leave Pitsea in a state of limbo, a wasteland of empty ground, with, not a supermarket, but a frozen construction site at its centre.

The rise of discount stores has spelled disaster for giant food retail chains.

Where this leaves Pitsea is uncertain. Certainly energy and vigour will be required to salvage something from the masterplan, and prevent the centre from being blighted for years to come.