MORE than 1,000 people say no.

That’s the defiant message from loyal customers of a Hampshire pub fighting plans to stop a department store from expanding nearby.

Regulars at the Tudor Rose pub in Romsey have signed a petition, supported by local people and visitors to the town, in a last-ditch bid to stop Bradbeers from increasing in size.

The store – one of the oldest and most famous in Hampshire – has been battling for two years to expand and adjoin the Cornmarket.

The scheme will involve demolishing the former Stares Butchery and old Oxfam bookshop, replacing them both with a modern glass-fronted building.

The firm’s initial plans in 2012 were refused by council chiefs, but new proposals have been submitted with a lower roof.

But landlady of the neighbouring Grade II listed Tudor Rose, Lisa Moore said the proposals will have a devastating impact on her business as well as many other small firms in the town.

She said: “These plans will be detrimental to our customers who use the pub garden and destroy the ambience of the historic building.

“We will lose all the sunlight in the pub garden because the proposed building is so high and customers won’t want to sit outside because it will be so dark and cold.”

Lisa added: “Buildings like the Tudor Rose are part of the country’s heritage to be enjoyed by ourselves and future generations and they cannot be replaced, therefore they should be protected while in our care.”

So far she has collected more than 1,000 signatures on a petition aimed at stopping the plans, which now have the support of Romsey Town Council.

“Bradbeers is striving to modernise and expand its empire to the detriment of small businesses. This will mean a fall in visitors to the town and possibly damage a key part of the town centre.”

Bradbeers MD Greg Davies, said the revised plans have seen the height of the building reduced and the modern design still kept many traditional features including a slate pitched roof and solid oak timber pillars. He disputed that the pub would lose its sunlight.

He added: “This application was submitted a very long time ago and we will watch the out-of-town retail threat to Romsey town centre very carefully before making any decision on a multi-million-pound town centre project.”