REVISED plans for upgrade works on a major road in Romsey town centre are set to cost taxpayers nearly £200,000 more than first thought, a new report has found.

Work on Bell Street has soared from £872,000 to £1.052 million after the county council discovered the whole of its drainage system would need replacing as it was in “far worse condition than originally been thought”.

Cllr Rob Humby, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for environment and transport, approved the increase.

The council will take the cash from its Market Town Fund to help cover the shortfall.

Bell Street was closed on Monday, September 4 to allow months of works on the road as part of a multi-million pound improvement package for the town.

The project, which is set to last for 28 weeks, had originally been planned to begin in January this year, but following discussions with businesses, the start date was pushed back to September to avoid impact on the busy summer trade.

The works will see the road narrowed in order to reduce vehicle speeds and the footway and carriageway will be at one level to aid accessibility.

A new drainage system will also be introduced to reduce the risk of flooding and maintenance required.

There will be a raised crossing at the entry to Bell Street and Broadwater Road to act as a gateway to Bell Street.

For the duration of the works, access for pedestrians, emergency services and deliveries will be maintained at all times, but there will be no access for other vehicles to Bell Street.

Fully signed diversions are in place, and Bell Street is accessible via Church Street.

The council has confirmed that work will be done in two phases and shut down over the busy Christmas trading period (November 24-January 5).

County council leader, Roy Perry, explained: “The scheme to enhance Bell Street is part of a package of improvements for Romsey, designed to help the Town Centre become a more vibrant and attractive place to visit.

“However, I understand the disruption building a scheme such as this can cause and I have always promised that these works will be carried out with as little interruption to local people as possible.