AN MP has written to the chief executives of all major supermarket chains pleading for them to step forward and takeover Wickford’s abandoned Co-op.

Last month Morrison’s pulled out of plans to take over the Co-op, which closed two years ago, after claiming the site was “no longer commercially viable”.

Residents, councillors, and MPs have all been left devastated by the news and fear Wickford has a shortage of supermarkets despite an expanded Aldi opening last year. Now, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford Mark Francois has written to supermarket bosses urging them to take the opportunity to open a new shop.

The original plans would have seen a new Morrisons open on the ground floor of a seven-storey block of flats.

Mr Francois said: “While it is great that the newly rebuilt and expanded Aldi supermarket which I reopened remains popular with my constituents in Wickford, there is still a need for a second supermarket for the town.

“I have therefore recently written to all of the major supermarkets chief executives bar Aldi and the Co-op, to try and see if we can harness interest and bring forward some real progress to this whole saga, which has rumbled on for far too long.”

Wickford councillor, Don Morris, who was devastated by the drop-out of Morrisons, has spoken of his desperate wish to see someone take on the large, central supermarket.

He said: “I desperately want to see an alternative supermarket on that site and the clowns that own it didn’t make a good job of it at all.

“I am quite optimistic we will find someone who will want to come and take it over, it offers potential, and I would welcome either a Tesco or an Asda on the site.

“I would welcome either of them as long as we have an alternative, I am looking forward to Mark being successful.”

In Mr Francois’ letter, he writes that: “I am writing to inquire whether you might be interested in taking on this store and bringing it back into use, ideally sooner rather than later?

“I would be happy to meet with you, or at least your senior planning team, to help explore this opportunity further.”