A PETITION has been launched to scrap plans for retirement flats on land which was originally earmarked for a pub.

The petition, already has nearly 70 signatures to stop the 36 retirement development.

The proposal, submitted to Test Valley Borough Council, is to introduce 15 two bedroom flats, 21 one bedroom flats, with facilities such as a residents lounge, a mobility scooter store, refuse store, office and a guest suite in Abbotswood, near Romsey.

As well as a total of 25 car parking spaces.

Now, residents are signing a petition to abolish the plans because the creator of it, Jack Andrews, would prefer it to be used as a pub, or a GP surgery which was another option for the land.

The petition now has more than 50 signatures in just under a day.

Jack Andrews, of Wyndham Drive, said: "We are appealing from signatures for a petition which directly affects residents and visitors of Abbotswood in Romsey.

"We require signatures from anyone in the Test Valley Borough Council area.

"The petition is not because we would rather have the Pub.

"It's about the precedent being set if change of use is granted so readily. It's about the confidence residents have in a local authority seemingly disinterested in the community that is Abbotswood.

"It's about land set aside for community and retail use being granted change of use without any regard to the local people."

He added: "There are concerns from everyone in the catchment area since they abolished the plans for the new Abbotswood GP.

"So 800 new homes have already forced to flood the only two GP surgeries in the area. They are now planning to add an additional retirement property, the GP surgeries will not be able to handle it."

Another Abbotswood resident, Simon Hayes, also said he feels "badly let down" after plans were revealed.

However, Richard Wakley, an Abbotswood resident said: As residents of nearly seven years, my wife and I would much prefer a retirement home there rather than a pub that would likely have caused noise pollution and drunken behaviour in our streets.

"The GP surgery and a dental surgery were planned within the new shops, construction of which has recently been completed.

"Sadly all residents will already have registered for such services, making any take-up from GPs or dentists unviable."

Shane Paull, Regional Managing Director at McCarthy and Stone, commented: “This is a sustainable, vacant site which has been identified for future development as part of the Abbotswood Masterplan. Despite extensive marketing for a new public house since 2012, no buyers have been forthcoming, with no interest shown from any national, local or niche operators. As nobody has been able to deliver a pub, we believe that much-needed Retirement Living accommodation for older residents is an excellent alternative that still provides something that will benefit the local area.

He added: "Our plans will significantly improve housing choice for older residents and there is currently a significant shortfall within Romsey and the wider Test Valley for this type of specialist accommodation."