A TRADERS’ leader has described the latest situation in Christchurch’s supermarket battle as a “Mexican standoff”.

Councillors will tonight decide on whether to allow a Morrisons at Beagle on Stony Lane and a revised food store scheme for Meteor Retail Park in Somerford.

But the Daily Echo revealed that Asda was threatening to pull out of rival plans for a supermarket at the Quantum site in Bailey Drive if councillors approved the other schemes.

Peter Watson-Lee, president of Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “This is a real Mexican Standoff.

“We have three major developers pouring large resources into obtaining planning permissions for three separate supermarkets, whilst the evidence is that there is just not the local demand to support such a number of additional stores.

“It would be interesting to watch them manoeuvre for advantage were it not for the fact that the trade diversion that may result as they battle it out could cause major and lasting damage to the high street and town centre stores.”

Tonight’s special meeting of the planning committee will be beginning at 6pm and the Daily Echo will be covering the meeting live online.