A SUPERMARKET chain has been told to open its planned Southampton store or give the keys to someone that will.

The ultimatum has been issued by city councillor Warwick Payne who is demanding Morrisons get on with its planned supermarket in Woolston.

He added that finally opening the 60,000sqft Morrisons in the main unit of the Centenary Quay development will create more than 100 jobs for the area and give local shoppers “something fresh”.

It comes more than three years after the chain was supposed to open in November 2015, after buying the unit.

It had announced plans to open back in 2013.

But, in June 2016, developer Crest Nicholson revealed that Morrisons bosses decided to cut costs, which indefinitely postponed the store’s launch, and the unit has been empty ever since.

The nearest Morrisons is in Totton.

Cllr Payne, who represents Woolston, said: “Morrisons has been sitting on this empty supermarket for three years, in which time more than 100 local people could have had much-needed jobs. This is wrong.

“I call on Morrisons to open its store, or if it has no plan to do so, then do the right thing and hand the keys to somebody else who’ll provide local jobs and something fresh for Woolston shoppers.”

He added that local frustration had been growing, so a petition had been started. So far dozens of locals have signed it.

“I can’t understand why Morrisons won’t open its store,” he added.

“Its nearest outlet is ten miles away, so it can’t take trade from itself, and while Lidl is booming in Woolston, none of the ‘big four’ supermarkets have entered the area.

“If Morrisons was going to open a supermarket anywhere, why not Woolston? It beggars belief.

“I’d love to make my case to Morrisons’ executives because I believe Woolston is a prime candidate for a new supermarket.

“After all, even Gibraltar has a Morrisons, so why doesn’t Southampton?”

Morrisons hasn’t responded to requests for comment.