CAMPAIGNERS have created a petition to halt the demolition of a historic pub in order to make way for a block of flats.

Residents of Wivenhoe have banded together to oppose D G Rose Limited's proposals to pull down The Flag, in Colchester Road, and replace it with two offices at ground floor level and eight one-bed properties, over two further stories above.

With the support of Wivenhoe Town Council, councillor Kevin Read created the petition, which calls for Colchester Council to reject the application in order to preserve the "important community space".

Mr Read said: "We had a lot of constituents approaching us asking what we were going to do about it so I thought I would start the petition.

"I think it is the biggest way we will have an impact on the planning committee.

"We have had more than 500 signatures which is more than I thought already and around five per cent of the town's total population."

The Flag is an 18th century Local Listed building and features prominently in the Wivenhoe Town Plan, which aims to shape development in the area and was approved after a referendum last month.

In November 2016 the premises was put up for sale when the existing tenant got into financial difficulties.

The property was marketed to new landlords, however no takers for the pub could be found and it closed for good in June last year.

D G Rose said the lack of any offers for the premises over this interim period showed there was no demand for a pub on site.

However Mr Read said there was a market for a pub or similar facility at this side of the town.

"It is a community space in the village which has been there for a very long time," he said.

"It is the main building you see as you enter Wivenhoe and it is a pub which people want to see continue.

"There have been at least three sets of people approach me to say they put in offers of running it in the past.

"There is no proof it is not a viable business."

The petition will be presented to Colchester Council's planning committee when the development is up for debate.