Romsey £1.3m Redevelopment Plans Go On Display

5 November 2016, 08:25 | Updated: 5 November 2016, 09:39

Romsey £1.3m Redevelopment Plans Go On Display at Romsey Town Hall.

Hampshire County Council is inviting local residents and businesses to let them know their preferred scheme for proposed enhancements to Market Place, Romsey. This scheme follows on from the enhancement to Church Street already completed, and the work on Bell Street due to be implemented in 2017.

The options to upgrade Market Place have been drawn up by the County Council in conjunction with Test Valley Borough Council. The proposals take on board local views from the first consultation earlier this year and will be on show at Romsey Town Hall on Saturday 5 November, between 10am and 12 noon, and again on Monday 7 November between 9am and 5pm. Staff from the County Council and Borough Council will also be on hand to answer any questions.

The three options on show include making the road and footway one level in Market Place, to make the area more accessible for all users. The main aim is to make it an even more attractive destination for shoppers and visitors and therefore enhance its vitality. The proposals all seek to reduce vehicle speeds and therefore, increase safety. One option will provide a large pedestrian space and sitting out area to the north of Market Place (WHSmith side), stretching out from the shops and restaurants there, whilst an alternative builds out from the NatWest Bank side, from the east and has two options for traffic flows.

Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Rob Humby, said: "This is the third and largest phase of the wide scale enhancement project to Romsey Town Centre, on top of the £1.39 million investment already being delivered. The improvements will address the long-standing issue of narrow and uneven footways and seek to reduce the dominance of motor vehicles, boosting the town's economic viability making it a more attractive destination to visit and shop, whilst complementing its historic character.

"We have worked closely with the public on these improvements, ensuring that the designs reflect the feedback received since the first phase of works was implemented in Church Street. Therefore, I would encourage people to come and have a look at the proposed designs to help us decide what's best for Romsey."

Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Transport, Councillor Martin Hatley, said: "Test Valley Borough Council is pleased to be working again with Hampshire County Council to enhance Romsey town centre for the benefit of residents, visitors and the local economy. I would encourage anyone who wishes to find out more about the proposed schemes to come along to the consultation events and have their say on the proposals."

The first phase of the town centre improvement works in Church Street cost £545,000, of which Test Valley Borough Council contributed £150,000. This included the raising of the carriageway to the same level as the existing footways, the widening of footways to improve accessibility and the narrowing of the road to encourage lower vehicle speeds. Street furniture was also replaced, adding to the overall quality of place within the town centre.

The second phase, which is due to start in early 2017, will enhance Bell Street, from the junction with Middlebridge Street to just south of the Market Place. It will include making the road and footway one level from just north of the Newton Lane junction on Bell Street, up to the Market Place. The footways on Bell Street will be repaved with Yorkstone - in keeping with the scheme which was recently completed in Church Street. The road will be resurfaced and narrowed in order to reduce vehicle speeds and aid general accessibility. On-street parking in Bell Street will be removed, as supported in the responses to the public consultation in February 2016, so that the wider footways can be accommodated for the full length of the street, and a raised crossing introduced at the entry to Bell Street, to act as a gateway to the area.

Hampshire County Council Leader, and Member for Romsey Extra, Councillor Roy Perry added: "I do hope people who live in Romsey and those who use Romsey town centre will take the opportunity to visit the exhibition and express their views on the possible options.

"The need to maintain existing access requirements, coupled with the wider traffic impacts means it isn't considered appropriate for Romsey to have a full pedestrianisation scheme like Winchester. However, the prospect of at least some space to sit out in the sun for a cup of tea or coffee whilst generally slowing traffic down on the roads seems very tempting.

"Romsey town centre is already an attractive and vibrant place to visit, and I am keen we seize this opportunity to enhance its quality still further so that it continues to flourish. I hope to see an outcome that benefits traders, residents, regular shoppers and tourists who love to visit the town. As a result of online shopping, many town centres are suffering but Romsey has a great chance to defeat that trend and continue to prosper."