A petition to save the shops being threatened with eviction by Winchester City Council has been launched, with nearly 500 signatures already.

This comes after the Chronicle reported that two shops, Sunflowers Emporium and Sukee Market, are going to be evicted from their locations at Kings Walk.

Sunflowers Emporium manager Alistair Day explained that the reason the city council gave for this was “because of the vague notion of an arts and creative hub.”

The petition has been set up on change.org and has 425 signatures, after being launched on November 16.

On the petition, Mr Day explains why they are frustrated with the council's decision.

It says: “The actual details of this plan appear to be vague at best but somehow include all the other businesses currently in Kings Walk except for ourselves and the Chinese supermarket because we are not 'creative businesses', despite most of those being allowed to stay not falling into this category either.

“Since Barbara started in the old antiques market 16 years ago, she has built a broad and loyal customer base of all ages and walks of life who come to us for many items that are not available anywhere else in Winchester.

“However this is a small business, we simply cannot afford the sky high rents in the High Street and other busy areas which effectively means Sunflowers will have to close for good.

“Another local independent gone and peoples' livelihoods destroyed but this time, rather than being the victim of poor sales we are instead being ousted to make way for another half baked, ego project with no solid vision and many contradictions that will ultimately serve a very niche section of Winchester residents if anyone.

“Please help us send the message that this is completely unjust and immoral and that we deserve to keep our place in Kings Walk where we belong.”

The petition can be signed by visiting: https://www.change.org/p/save-sunflowers-emporium.

Winchester City Council have been approached for a comment.