Anti-Tesco campaigners will stage their latest battle against the supermarket giant today.

Protesters will gather outside the controversial Tesco Express in James's Street, Brighton, from 6pm to 8pm tonight.

They are calling on people to boycott the store, which opens today.

The new shop is allowed to sell alcohol despite opposition from residents, traders and councillors.

Brighton and Hove City Council initially refused to grant the liquor licence but it was allowed after Tesco appealed to magistrates in Brighton.

Ben Duncan, a Green Party councillor for Queen's Park, Brighton, will join the protest and said the new store would undoubtedly threaten other traders in the area.

He said: “The opening of a Tesco store means a threat to other local businesses and an adverse effect on the local economy.

“I think there is a threat to the future of St James's Street and the surrounding area if it becomes another clone-town street.

“It has already got the Starbucks and now it will have a Tesco Express too.

“If we are not careful, St James's Street could end up looking like any other street in the city and that is not good for business.

“Its unique character is what keeps footfall so high at the moment.”

Coun Duncan also bemoaned the immense legal power that Tesco could afford to wield when appealing against local authorities' planning decisions.

He said: “They have great power which means they can use the planning and licensing laws of this country to their benefit.”

Tesco has also successfully applied to open another store in the city, this time in Queen's Road.

Its alcohol licence was granted and the store is due to open on August 19.

Concerns have been raised that the shop, in the former Dreams bed store, would sell alcohol for 17 hours a day within the controlled city centre area.

Both Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove trading standards raised concerns about under-age and antisocial drinking in the neighbourhood.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “We believe this site is an excellent site for a Tesco Express store and will complement existing traders.

“More competition and choice can only bring advantages to the area.

“In our experience Express stores boost local trade and encourage more people to stay and shop in an area and in turn can have a positive effect for other local traders, services and the economy.

“Our Express stores are very much part of the local community they serve.”