TESCO has launched a bid to open its ninth store in Worthing.
The retail giant has targeted the former Caffyns car showroom in Goring Road.
The move, which would create 20 full and part-time jobs, is likely to cause controversy in Worthing, which has been branded “Tesco Town” by critics, due to the number of Tesco Express convenience stores in the area.
There are currently outlets in Chapel Road, Broadwater Street West, South Farm Road, Littlehampton Road, Rectory Road, Findon Road, and Goring Way.
In addition, a multi-million pound Tesco megastore opened in West Durrington almost a year ago.
Critics claim Tesco sucks away trade from smaller independent shops which cannot compete with its prices.
Now, the firm has lodged an application with Worthing Borough Council to “change the existing floorspace (of Caffyns) to A1 retail use”.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We go where customers say they want to shop with us.
“Every day they make a choice of where to go. We are delighted that customers choose to shop with us.
“We have stores in Worthing because they are incredibly busy and popular.”
Letters have been sent out to neighbouring businesses, which include Iceland and Co-op on the opposite side of the road, and a decision is likely by the end of January.
Marine ward councillor Tom Wye said: “Residents have raised concerns about the opening of another Tesco Express in Goring Road.
“I share many of their concerns. Unfortunately, even though this will be the ninth Tesco store to open in Worthing, it cannot be used as a planning reason for refusal.”
Alan Rice, leader of the Lib Dem opposition on the borough council, said: “I am not surprised and suspect there will be more.
“Although I appreciate the convenience they provide, I do have a great concern about the effect on local shops.
“Do we really want Worthing to be just another clone town or one that retains local identity?”
But the Tesco spokesman said the opening of a Tesco store often rejuvenated shopping parades by attracting customers to the area.