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Too many plans create confusion
7:40am Thursday 15th March 2012 in News
ILL-TIMED and confusing – that’s the verdict of Romsey’s county councillor, Mark Cooper, on the borough planning chiefs’ decision to stage a public consultation on developing a master plan for the town at the same time as its Core Strategy exhibition.
Mr Cooper said: “The two documents shared the same exhibition timing at Romsey Town Hall. The confusion seems to have been engineered deliberately.”
“Planning for Romsey’s Future – preparing a Masterplan for the Town” sought the views of townspeople on how they would like to see the community develop over the next 20 years.
Borough deputy leader and cabinet spokesman for planning and transport, Martin Hatley, rebuffed Mr Cooper’s claims.
He said “There is no intention to confuse, rather to ensure Romsey residents have the opportunity, as part of developing the Core Strategy, to have their say on the town’s future. To suggest otherwise is simply disingenuous.”
Mr Hatley said the consultation document was the first step in a specific masterplan for the future of town, whilst the Core Strategy set out the development proposals for the whole borough.
“The two complement each other, so it makes sense to run them in parallel.
“What is important is that people have their say on the way transport, employment, shopping, leisure, community facilities and the environment will be developed to ensure Romsey remains a good place to live and work”.
Just over 50 people commented on the “Planning for Romsey’s Future – Preparing a Masterplan for the Town” consultation document.
Mr Cooper supports efforts by Hampshire and Test Valley councils to enhance the town centre – especially Church Street, the Market Place and Bell Street.
He said: “The environmental improvements to The Hundred and the Cornmarket have been successful, but design standards have moved on since they were installed. I am especially interested in schemes that will spread and improve footfall in the town.”
Mr Cooper told the Advertiser he’d like to see priority given to pedestrians in Bell Street, the Market Place and Church Street, a reduction in street signs and better pedestrian links between the Crosfield Hall and the town centre and between Dukes Mill and The Hundred.
He’d also like to see car parks provided on the edge of Romsey for town centre workers. “This would free up town centre car parks for short-term parking,” he said.
He believes that better use could be made of the Crosfield Hall and bus station sites and future development of both areas should be investigated.