ALLBROOK residents will get their say on plans for a controversial development which could change the face of the village.

Steve Sollitt, chairman of the borough's Eastleigh local area committee, has confirmed a public meeting will be held at 7.30pm on February 27, at the Civic Offices in Leigh Road.

Nearly 200 residents of Allbrook, which nestles on the northern boundary of Eastleigh, have declared war on outline plans from Edmund Nuttall Ltd and Forelle Estates Ltd which would sweep away the Victoria Inn and the current Nuttall plant-hire depot.

They would be replaced by 24 flats in a pair of two-storey blocks, a community store with a post office, an office block and a 20-space car park for residents of Allbrook Hill.

On the north side of Allbrook Hill, the scheme envisages the restoration of the Grade II listed Allbrook Farmhouse - the 17th century home of Britain's first professional woman portrait artist Mary Beale - as a single home.

A paddock to the rear of the farmhouse would be developed with 66 homes plus car parking and landscaping and a vehicular access off Pitmore Road.

Speaking at a recent local area committee meeting, chairman Steve Sollitt told colleagues: "I have been approached by many residents of the Allbrook Hill area.

"There is a recommendation that we go for a public meeting on what is a significant application for the Allbrook area."

And councillor Bill Luffman said: "It is really sensitive. Apart from anything else, it overlaps the urban edge and the implications following that could be gigantic - the great Chamberlayne Estates butt up to it.

"It is only right and proper that local residents should have an input into what they would or would not agree to."

Mr Sollitt has welcomed news that a date has been fixed for the public meeting.

He said: "The applicants and their agent will be attending and it will give residents the first real opportunity to voice their views to them.

"I believe that the meeting will be a vital part of the planning process on this application.

"I have had dozens of letters from the villagers and have been in contact with many more. There are many issues and questions to be dealt with and I hope that this will happen at the meeting."