HUNDREDS of people have backed the fight to save Durham City's only supermarket from closure.

A petition launched by Labour parliamentary candidate Roberta Blackman-Woods to secure the future of the Safeway store has won support from residents and students.

Ms Blackman-Woods said she was delighted with the response, and vowed to do all she could to make sure the store in Milburngate stays open.

The supermarket was recently taken over by the Morrison Group, and is one of a number under review because of low performance.

Ms Blackman-Woods said: "Obviously I am very disappointed to learn that the store's future is under review, but I am determined that everything possible is done to save this valuable supermarket facility in the city.''

The store, on the lower floor of the Milburngate centre, underwent an expensive refit just two years ago.

Ms Blackman-Woods added: "The closure of the Durham store would be disastrous for residents in the city, particularly those who do not have the means or ability to get to one of the out-of-town shopping centres.''

The city-based supermarket is well used during term-time by students, as well as residents, and is considered to be an important element on Durham's shopping map.

Ms Blackman-Woods pledged: "I shall continue to press Morrisons and others in an effort to safeguard the future of the store and to maintain an adequate supermarket facility in Durham.''

Ms Blackman-Woods started her petition at the shop last weekend.

Last night, she revealed that she had received the support of hundreds of shoppers and residents.

But while confirming that the supermarket's future was under review, a Morrisons spokesman said that "absolutely nothing had yet been decided."

He said that the company had to take a close look at the Safeway stores which they had taken over

"This is just one of many others we are reviewing at the moment,'' he said.