Supermarket giant Tesco has won its legal battle to sell alcohol at its new store.
Councillors had ordered the company to keep drink off the shelves when it opens its new Tesco Express in St James's Street, Brighton, in June.
But their decision was overturned yesterday after magistrates said the multinational could not be blamed for the problems in the area.
The ruling was met with disappointment by local residents, traders and councillors who opposed the licensing application.
Tesco’s application was turned down in November by Brighton and Hove City Council's licensing panel on the grounds that it could add to
the negative impact alcohol already had in the area.
At the appeal hearing magistrates were told that alcohol-fuelled disorder had made life a misery for people living and working in the area.
They were told there were fears that if the supermarket was allowed to sell cheap drink the problems would escalate.
Brighton and Hove City Council and Sussex Police, which opposed the application, made the area a cumulative impact zone because of its
problems, which means it receives special attention when licences are considered.
But magistrate Juliet Smith said: "There is no evidence to show that the overall sales of alcohol in the area would increase if we were to grant Tesco Stores Ltd a licence."
Instead the court granted Tesco a licence subject to 12 conditions, which include alcohol only being sold between noon and 10pm, a security guard being on duty at all times that alcohol is on sale
and no beer and cider for sale with an alcohol content of more than 5.5%.
Carol Theobald, the chairman of the council's licensing committee, said: “We are disappointed that our decision was overruled as we felt that there were not good enough reasons for licensing
another premises in the area.
“We will continue to judge every case on its merits, taking into account the views of residents, the police, and other businesses in the locality."
Rachel Fryer, a councillor for the Queen's Park ward, said: "We are really disappointed in the outcome. It is as simple as this – if alcohol is cheaper people will drink more and problems will
“We will be looking carefully at the impact once the store opens."
Resident Trevor Scoble, who spoke against the application at the appeal hearing, said: "This decision is very wrong. I cannot lead a normal life because there is so much drinking in the streets."
Inspector Andrew Kundert, of Sussex Police, said: "We obviously respect the decision of the court and we appreciate the very strict conditions that the magistrates have placed upon Tesco.
“We will ensure the conditions are monitored."