Picket Twenty residents have reacted angrily to plans that would see flats erected on the area designed to be at the heart of their community.

Persimmon Homes has submitted plans to build a block of 18 flats on land originally designated as a pub for the estate. Residents have called for the area to remain a space for the community, rather than converted into residential accommodation.

Ann Richards said: “This space was agreed as community space, more flats are not required as the estate is quite big enough now. Give us what we want, what we were promised when we bought and what was agreed when the planning permission was granted.”

However, Persimmon says that it has “adequately provided” facilities for the Picket Twenty estate and that a block of flats on the site “makes the best use of available land”.

Outline planning permission for the Picket Twenty estate was granted in 2008, with a legal agreement between Test Valley Borough Council and Persimmon guaranteeing a local centre, which had to contain a health centre, day nursery, one or more stores, a games area, pub and other buildings.

However, these plans have been modified over time. While a community centre, games area and nursery were built rapidly, the store for Picket Twenty only opened this year after having sat empty since its construction in 2018.

Meanwhile, the health centre never materialised, after no GP expressed an interest in operating the site. Though enquiries were made about converting the units into a convenience store or takeaway, Persimmon applied, and was granted, permission to convert the health centre into a pharmacy unit and offices.

The current plans relate to the proposed site of the pub for Picket Twenty. Like the health centre, the site was marketed to potential occupiers, but no interest was received.

Plans to build a similar block of flats on the site were submitted in 2018, but were withdrawn following concerns over the design of the building. These modified plans seek to address some of the concerns raised, by sharing design features with neighbouring buildings.

However, residents still have concerns over the plans. Kathryn Hubbert said the flats “will dangerously increase traffic” on the junction, and that the planned parking “will not be sufficient.”

Sophie Gellender also raised parking concerns, proposing that the area should be converted to a parking area for the community centre, as well as providing green space for residents.

Alan Atkinson agreed with this sentiment, saying: “Given the area was originally for the community, it should only be fair that something goes back in this area for the people of Picket Twenty.”

Their concerns are disputed by Persimmon. In a statement, the developer said that the flats gave a “significant decrease” in parking demand relative to the pub, and that extra cars using the site “can be comfortably accommodated” elsewhere in the estate.

“As such, it is considered the proposal provides sufficient safe, convenient and practical car parking.”

They added that traffic from the residents “will not result in a material increase in trip generation that will result in any adverse impacts”.

As for proposals to turn the site into additional community space, Persimmon said that Picket Twenty has an “over-provision” of open space and that it had “adequately provided” facilities for the Picket Twenty estate with a block of flats on the site making “the best use of available land”.

Persimmon was contacted for comment.