Residents are in a “waiting game” after a petition was handed to Huntingdonshire District Council in support of its decision to turn down a 50-home development on the site of St Ives Town Football Club.

The planning application, submitted by the football club, was turned down by the district council last year but it was revealed last month that the club had lodged an appeal against the refusal.

Member for St Ives South, Councillor John Davies, said: “When the football club were turned down we thought that they might scale back with an amended plan but since they lodged the appeal it has irritated residents but we can't do anything at the moment, we are just biting our nails –it is just a waiting game at the moment.”

The online petition, launched by resident Joanne Wells, garnered 543 signatures all supporting the council's decision.

“There are a lot of residents concerned about the development as some of the buildings would be flats and many in Green Leys are worried about being overlooked,” said Cllr Davies.

The district council also turned down the application, amid concerns over the loss of a sports facility, the quality of the proposed development, and the impact on local wildlife, including the bat population.

Cllr Davies added: “I think the majority of local residents would accept a smaller development but this would have to considerably smaller or if the land was purchased by St Ivo School as the school is bursting at the seems.

The football club are willing to have further talks with the district council about the application after it sought the permission, in principle, to relocate to a new pitch on the outskirts of town, off Somersham Road.

St Ives Town chairman Gary Clarke said: “There was no other avenue for us but to go to appeal over the application as this has been going on for more than five years.

“We have done everything the council have asked of us and we need the sale of this land to finance our move.”

If the district council proposed a smaller number of houses, officials at the football club have said that they would consider reaching an compromise.

Mr Clarke said: “It would obviously need to be a viable option for us to consider it but we would support it if we could sell the land for a good price.”

The Planning Inspectorate will consider the appeal in the months ahead.