MULTI-million pound plans to prevent flooding in Romsey have taken a huge step forward as civic chiefs vote to start work early next year.

The project, which is scheduled to get under way in May, includes a number of measures designed to prevent a repeat of the flooding which hit homes and businesses across Romsey nearly four years ago.

It is estimated to cost almost £6.2 million and aims to better protect nearly 200 homes around the town by improving defences in Middlebridge Street, Winchester Road, Mainstone and on the River Test.

The measures include managing the water flow on the river and optimising the use of the flood plain through a permanent control structure at the ‘cat flap’, where a temporary structure was installed during the previous flooding.

Hampshire County Council member for environment and transport at councillor Rob Humby, said: “We are committed to helping reduce the risk of flooding across Hampshire and I’m pleased to be working collaboratively with our partners to help the residents and businesses of Romsey. We are making good progress with plans for a package of measures to mitigate the impact of flooding in Romsey and I hope local people will be able to come along to our public exhibition in Crosfield Hall between October 11 and 14 to find out more.”

The county council says it aims to fund the measures through the combination of a Flood Defence grant, plus Test Valley Borough Council funds and out of its own pocket.

A further £1.75 million in funding is still be sought for the scheme with a business case being submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

A public information event will be held on October 11 and 14.