Traders could be forced out of business after a council was forced to approve a controversial Tesco expansion against its will.

Lewes district councillors approved plans this week for the extension of the supermarket's store in Brooks Road, Lewes.

The committee was concerned that increasing the size of the shop could kill off independent traders in the town.

But the councillors said they had no choice but to agree to the scheme because planning laws did not support them.

Local retailers fear the store expansion will hit trade in smaller shops.

Lewes MP Norman Baker said: “It's a regrettable decision which I feel will have an adverse impact on the unique collection of independent shops in Lewes.

“It has been increasingly difficult for any council to reject any application. Local people should be able to take decisions on local issues without fear of a massive bill afterwards.”

In order to get planning permission the council said Tesco had to agree to fund local economic regeneration initiatives, better recycling facilities on the site and continue to allow free parking for up to three hours.

The company will also need to provide funding for public transport improvements and roads.