Plans to hold up to 500 asylum seekers on a piece of land off the A303 have been dropped by the Home Office.

The government department has withdrawn its plans to build a temporary holding facility on Ministry of Defence land near Barton Stacey, after scores of objections from politicians, residents and human rights groups.

The plans were labelled "akin to an open prison" by Cllr Phil North, leader of Test Valley Borough Council when they were first revealed in December, with almost 3,500 people since signing a petition against it.

Residents of Barton Stacey also came out against the proposals, saying that it would "totally change the dynamic" of the village.

Reacting to the news, Cllr North said: "I’m relieved to have been notified by the Minister today that the Home Office has formally dropped plans for a temporary immigration centre at Barton Stacey.

"Ever since this site was first put forward in November last year, local MP, Caroline Nokes and I have consistently made the case to government that this accommodation in this location is completely inappropriate.

"After initially suggesting a decision would be made in a matter of weeks, the Home Office had to carry out much more detailed work after we raised serious concerns about highway safety and habitats regulations amongst other strong arguments against it. I’m delighted that the Home Office have now concluded what we suggested all along, that this site is not a viable option."

He also thanked the people who signed the petition, as well as councils and politicians who came out against the plans.

Meanwhile, Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes said: "I am relieved to be able to let local residents know the Home Office has decided not to progress plans for a temporary asylum camp at Barton Stacey.

"I know this decision will be welcomed by the Barton Stacey and Longparish Parish Councils as well as the hundreds of residents who had been in touch with me."

The Home Office had proposed portacabin-style accommodation on the site, which is immediately south of the A303 at the Barton Stacey turn-off.

"Whilst I understand the argument about disincentivising dangerous channel crossings facilitated by criminal gangs of people smugglers - and whether you think this country should house more asylum seekers or not - putting these individuals up in temporary buildings akin to an open prison is the wrong accommodation in the wrong location," Cllr North previously said about the plans.

"Apart from some dining and basic recreation facilities, there will be nothing for them to do.

"There are few places I would consider less appropriate for a facility of this nature and it concerns me that this would even be considered.

"With no substantial facilities in the vicinity, occupants of the camp will almost certainly want to access the A303 road services on foot. This represents a significant highway danger in them walking on land adjacent to the road and in the carriageway itself."

The Home Office have been contacted for comment.