A SCHEME to build a 100- space edge-of-town public car park will be debated by Test Valley councillors next week.

Borough planners are behind the application at Romsey Rapids for a long-stay pay and display.

Like other TVBC car parks, it would be free to use after 4pm, but would also be free all day at the weekends.

The proposal links to the council programme converting long-stay parking bays in the town centre to short- and medium-stay in a bid to attract more shoppers and visitors.

However, nine spaces in an overflow car park currently allocated to Romsey Rapids and a section of a sports training pitch would be lost as a result of the proposed re-figuration of the Southampton Road site.

Officers says that a 2013 survey of parking in Romsey revealed that there was a “high level” of demand for spaces and a number of car parks were what they described as “operating at or close” to capacity particularly short stay sites.

Valley Leisure, which owns The Rapids, is supporting the application, which the borough’s Southern Area Planning Committee members will debate on Tuesday evening.

Rapids management say existing parking at the leisure centre is “woefully inadequate” and the problem has been “exacerbated” during the last few years as the range of activities available at the centre has increased.

The Rapids say 85 per cent of their visitors arrive by car and the number of users is likely to increase thanks to the Abbotswood development and additional parking spaces would “ease the frustrations of current users”.

Romsey Extra Parish Council also supports the application, but it has asked for measures to be taken to stop drivers turning right onto the A27 when they leave the Rapids site, if the scheme is approved. Improvements to a public footpath linking Romsey Rapids with the A3090 near the town football ground are due to start next month. This includes installing street lighting and the work is linked to the new car parking scheme, along with plans to provide floodlighting for a sports training pitch at the site.

- The borough council is currently consulting the public on parking provision in Romsey and this also includes off-street parking and measures to control lorry movements in and around the town.

Details of the proposals are on show at the council’s offices in Church Street and an exhibition will be held at the Crosfield Hall between 3pm and 8pm next Wednesday (January 29). The consultation period ends on January 31.