A £40,000 fighting fund has been created to stop late-night drinking in Worthing's pubs.

The Borough Council has vowed "aggressively, confidently and determinedly" to oppose plans by pub giant Bar Med to open a new bar staying open until midnight.

The chain wants to open up in the former Landmark furniture store in Chapel Road until midnight every night of the week. Councillors fear the move would open the floodgates and turn Worthing into an English Ibiza.

Last month Worthing magistrates overturned the council's refusal to allow midnight closing.

Now the council has decided to appeal against the magistrates' decision at an estimated cost of £10,000-£15,000. The appeal is expected to be heard within the next 16 weeks.

Licensing committee chairman George Stephens said: "We were stunned by the magistrates' decision.

"For Bar Med to open one hour longer would make residents lives' intolerable.

"Residents, police and councillors have all expressed their concern about the plans. They fear more violence, noise and criminal damage."

The council has set aside a total of £40,000 to combat late-night drinking.

Councillor Stephens added: "The decision was unanimous by Conservatives and Lib-Dems. We decided it was worth the cost for the sake of the community.

"A senior QC and council officers will aggressively, confidently and determinedly pursue the town's appeal on behalf of all Worthing residents."

Don MacQuarrie, of Wenban Road, was one of dozens of residents who fought the late licence.

He said: "The residents will be very pleased with the council's plan to continue the fight. It is money well spent.

"We have been under attack from the mushrooming of superpubs. We created an alliance between residents, police and the council to stop Bar Med in its tracks. I am glad the council has come to our defence."

No one from Bar Med was available for comment.