BELL Street has fully reopened in Romsey having been shut last September.

Coming as part of the £1.5 million town centre works, the road had been closed off to cars in order to level the pavements with the road.

It follows the same scheme in Church Street, with the final stage of the project being Market Place.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, who are leading the project, Roy Perry, said he was confident those changes would also be well received.

Other than a six-week period to aid traders of the Christmas period, the road had shut off since September.

Improvements also include narrowing the road in order to reduce speeds of cars, and removing the on-street parking.

There is also now a raised crossing at the entry to Bell Street.

Cllr Perry said: "I hope this highways refurbishment will make Bell Street an even more popular area and attract more custom to the shops in that part of town.

"I am confident when the refurbishment of the Market Place is undertaken following on from Church Street and Bell Street, it too will also be well received as it helps adapt Romsey for an appropriate style for the 21st century while keeping its old world charm.

"We are all fortunate to have such an attractive town as Romsey and I hope the joint efforts of Hampshire County, Test Valley Borough and Romsey Town councils will help it continue to thrive."

One business to suffer from the closure of the street was Rum's Eg. As previously reported, founder Siriol Sherlock had blamed the road shutting off to vehicles as too big a challenge to overcome.

Cllr Perry said he hoped someone else may be able to take up a similar concept in the town.

He added: "It was a real pity that Rum's Eg could not keep going as it was such a good amenity for the town. I hope someone else may be able to take up that concept in this newly refurbished street."

Town centre manager Mark Edgerley also said that the removal of the kerb now meant that anyone could access the street wherever they wished, and that the new stronger surface meant the street could resist the weight of most vehicles.

He said: "For the foreseeable future, the risks from broken slabs and associated trips has been removed, good news for our older residents who are the main victims of the broken slabs.

"Technically, the design is not a shared surface, but local residents simply need to treat it as space where vehicles and pedestrians can mix, drivers and those on foot both need a high level of awareness, but that should be the case in any town centre road."

The next stage of the town development is the alterations to make Market Place more pedestrian-friendly.