CAMPAIGNERS have lost their battle to prevent alcohol being sold for up to 16 hours a day at a new supermarket in Hythe.

The Rev Jo Elvidge was among the objectors to an application submitted by Lidl, which is only months away from opening a £7m store in the centre of the village.

But New Forest District Council has approved Lidl’s bid to sell alcohol between 7am and 11pm.

Ms Elvidge is vicar of St John’s Church, which is next door to the new supermarket.

In a letter to the council she said: “The availability of cheap alcohol for up to 16 hours a day seven days a week will increase the risk of anti-social behaviour.”

Other objectors included Peter Lawson, secretary of the Parochial Church Council.

His letter said: “The Lidl store is in a conservation area adjacent to a Grade II-listed church and surrounded by housing, including 36 retirement flats."

Several councillors also objected including Eric Davey, vice-chairman of Hythe and Dibden Parish Council.

A Lidl spokesman said: “We are committed to selling alcohol responsibly in all our stores and would like to reassure local residents that our store will operate a ‘Think 25’ policy, to ensure alcohol is not sold to under-age customers.”

A council spokesman confirmed that the application had been approved by the licensing sub-committee.