HIGHWAY bosses are consulting the public on a scheme to make Romsey’s streets more pedestrian-friendly.

A package of measures totalling nearly £500,000 has been unveiled by Hampshire and Test Valley highway chiefs.

Proposals include installing shared road surfaces in Church Street, Bell Street and Market Place.

Existing road surfaces in Church Street between Abbey Walk and the Market Place will be raised to match footway levels.

Church Street will be narrowed near its junction with the Market Place where a pedestrian crossing is planned.

A ramp will also be built at the junction with the aim of slowing traffic down and a similar feature is proposed outside the Old Magistrates’ Court now home to Test Valley Borough Council.

It is also planned to reposition an existing bus stop outside the council’s offices. Seating and plants are proposed along the frontage of the council’s offices in a bid to discourage motorists from parking there but a parking bay outside the Post Office will be retained.

Existing pavements in Church Street will be renewed with Yorkstone paving to match the proposed buff tarmac road surface.

In Church Place, its is planning to replace damaged paving stones.

The first of two public exhibitions on the proposals was held at Romsey Town Hall on Thursday (March 13) between 2pm and 7pm and a further exhibition will be at the Crosfield Hall on Saturday, March 22 between 10am and noon.

Consultation ends on Friday April 11 and the public’s views will be used to help council officers finalise the proposals which if approved are likely to be implemented next January.

See more images of the proposals in this Friday's edition of the Advertiser.


How things have changed...

CURRENT proposals for the town centre call for the narrowing of Church Street but in 1878 councillors were hatching plans to widen it.

Local historian Phoebe Merrick has sent us the following  account of the planning inquiry as recorded in the Romsey Register.

On the day of our last issue an inquiry was held by an Inspector from the Local Government Board, with a view to elicit all the evidence in favor of this proposed improvement and all arguments that could be brought to bear against it.

Prior to the hearing at the Town-hall the Inspector personally visited the locality it is proposed to improve and the premises which have been purchased for that object, surveying also the houses on the western side of the street, the removal of which preference to those on the eastern side had been urged as “ alternative scheme”.

The case came before the Inspector in the forms; - firstly, that of the promoters, (a majority of the Sanitary Authority of the Council), who proposed the removal and setting back of the houses from the Market- place corner to the Market Inn - secondly that of the opposition ( a minority of the said Authority), who consider the widening of the street unnecessary and not to be undertaken when the public rates are increasing; - and thirdly, that of a section of improvers who, if the street is to be widened, contend that the Church or eastern side of it should have been chosen, by which means an imposing view of our noble Abbey would have been obtained. In brief, the gist of the promoters' case lay in this - an opportunity occurred to secure a desideration which might be realized, and the opportunity was seized. - Sanitary regulations would have condemned a portion of the premises to be pulled down, and the public convenience and safety would be served by their demolition.

The Town Clerk conducted the case of the promoters, and called the Mayor, Alderman Purchase, and Councillor Godfrey and Elcombe the latter of whom had long resided in Church street, and witnessed many “blocks” from the narrowness of the thoroughfare. Mr. John Smith surveyor, was examined on matters of detail; and a witness employed to number the passers-by and vehicles traversing the street on the previous day,….? proposed to an extent of traffic which few inhabitants would have conceived.

Mr. Nodder of Salisbury represented the opponents, and examined Councillors Fluder-Smith, Summers, and Roles, and with their evidence the case was virtually closed. The application of the Sanitary Authority to the Local Government Board has been to sanction the borrowing of £1400 repayable in 30 years, for carrying out the proposed improvement; and as soon as the Inspector's report has been considered by the Local Government Board we may look for their decision.