THE Morrisons supermarket chain is set to move in to Waitrose's store in Helensburgh, two local MSPs have told the Advertiser.

Jackie Baillie and Maurice Corry both say they've been told that the Bradford-based firm has taken on the Cardross Road premises, following Waitrose's decision to shut the store permanently on May 3.

And Ms Baillie, the Helensburgh area's constituency MSP, says she has already written to Morrisons asking them to open "as soon as possible" to ensure food supplies to Helensburgh are not disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: 'Everyone is raging' – furious staff react to news of Waitrose Helensburgh closure

Following Waitrose's announcement in early March confirming the closure of the store, it had been stated that the new – and then-unnamed – occupant of the building did not plan to open it in its new guise until December.

Customers, business chiefs and local politicians urged Waitrose this week to delay the closure of the store to ensure continued access to food and other essential supplies during the near-lockdown conditions imposed by the UK government.

Waitrose said it would not be doing so – although the Advertiser understands that Waitrose sought to have its lease at the site extended in the circumstances, but that this request was refused.

READ MORE: It's a 'no' from Waitrose: firm to press on with May closure of Helensburgh store despite pandemic pleas

Ms Baillie said on Friday: “I am glad that after much delay, local understanding is that Morrison’s will take the place of Waitrose in Helensburgh.

“It is now the responsibility of these two supermarket chains to work together to ensure that local residents are not left without easy access to essential products as this crisis continues to escalate.

“I have written to Morrisons asking them to put the needs of vulnerable local people ahead of any pre-existing business plans that they may have.

"I am not willing to sit on the side-lines and watch local residents be forgotten about during this uncertain time.”

READ MORE: Disappointment as Waitrose says it won't delay Helensburgh closure plans amid virus 'lockdown'

Mr Corry, who is both a Conservative regional MSP for the west of Scotland and a Helensburgh resident, added: "From the information I've been given I am convinced that Morrisons are taking on the Waitrose site.

"For the good of the community, I would very much hope that we can shorten that gap between Waitrose closing and the new store opening.

"Morrisons showed an interest in moving to Helensburgh and opening a store on the pierhead site a number of years ago, so I'm delighted that it looks like they have finally made it to a site in the town."

From humble origins on a Bradford market stall in 1899, Morrisons is now the UK's fourth largest supermarket chain, with almost 500 stores across the country.

Morrisons have been contacted for comment.

READ MORE: Check out all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines here