A pub which has been serving the Ewell community since the 18th century is to be converted into a fast food restaurant.

The Organ and Dragon, a Thai restaurant and pub on London Road in Ewell, closed down on July 17, after its owner Punch Taverns sold the freehold.

The sale ignited concerns from residents that the historic watering hole would be turned into a supermarket, nightclub, new housing or be torn down - but it was this week confirmed that it has been bought by fast food chain KFC.

In a letter to residents, Pegasus Planning Group (PPG), said the existing building would be retained and run as a KFC restaurant and takeaway, in a move creating 40 full and part-time jobs.

Although planning permission is not required for the building to continue as a restaurant, it is necessary for it be turned into a takeaway.

In the letter, David Onions, of PPG, said: "Some limited alterations are necessary to the building to allow for the use and plans of these have been prepared.

"KFC would welcome your comments, views and opinion before finalising a planning application that would then be submitted to Epsom and Ewell Council, and invite you to come along to an open evening to have a look at the plans, ask questions and provide comments."

Vicki Everest, who lives in Bluegates in Ewell, said: "To say this is an utterly abhorrent use of this historic site is an understatement.

"This cannot possibly be considered appropriate or positive for the area, without even mentioning the increased noise, pollution, litter, negative impact on house prices or further congestion on an already dangerously busy junction."

The pub started trading as the Organ Inn in the 1780s and was renamed the Organ and Dragon in 1978.

A display of the plans and proposals will be held in the Studio Room at Bourne Hall, in Spring Street, Ewell, on August 22 from 4pm to 8pm.

Do you think the Organ and Dragon should be converted into a KFC? Email Hardeep Matharu on hmatharu@london.newsquest.co.uk