There were a few less-than-jolly faces after Asda was given permission to open its Ferring store 24 hours a day in the run-up to Christmas.
The supermarket, off the A259, already opens between 6am and midnight but will not close between December 20 and 7pm on Christmas Eve.
At a meeting of Arun District Council’s development control committee on Wednesday, concerns were raised about the increase in noise and light pollution.
Stephen Abbott, of Ferring Parish Council, said the council had ‘an obligation’ to residents in nearby roads such as Bennett Gardens, Kilham Way and Winton Close.
He added: “Is it reasonable to suggest that Christmas should be used as an excuse to expose residents to unnecessary noise pollution throughout the night?”
David Bettiss, chairman of Ferring Conservation Group, called the new opening hours ‘unnecessary and most unwelcome’, adding: “The store was only granted planning permission in the first place on the basis of 6am to midnight opening.
“Surely this is long enough for anyone to do their shopping, even at Christmas.”
His views were shared by Colin Oliver-Redgate (Con, Ferring), who said: “If Asda are so desperate for the additional business, I’m not sure the additional businesses would justify the disturbances between midnight and 6am.”
Questions had been asked about the opening hours of other nearby supermarkets.
Chairman Richard Bower (Con, East Preston) said: “It would look extremely odd or very difficult for us to defend if other supermarkets in Arun were allowed these hours and this one was not.”
Dawn Hall (Con, Pagham) had sympathy for Christmas shoppers, stating: “Not everyone can go and do their shopping during the day.
“I certainly don’t make a noise when I go and do my shopping, so even if people go late at night, I don’t think they’re going to be dancing around or making a noise in the car park.”
This was not a view shared by Barbara Oakley (Con, Middleton-on-Sea).
Mrs Oakley said: “It’s a massive car park at Asda superstores and I can see it being used by people on motorbikes and things like that thinking ‘oh boy, oh boy, we can have a couple of hours fun round here while the car park’s still around’.
“Which means it’s got to be policed, which means you’ve got to have extra staff and security.
“I just think if you can’t do your shopping in 18 hours it’s nonsense, it really is.”
Members were told that the extended opening hours would not apply to the petrol station or to delivery lorries.
They were also told that the permission would be temporary so that any complaints received could be investigated should a similar application be submitted next year.