SIR – We wish to respond to the letters of Councillor Cooper and Simon Atkinson in the last two issues of the Romsey Advertiser. We reject Councillor Cooper’s assertion that we are spreading “Fake News.” Our sketch drawing published on 20th April was based on an HCC Draft document that we had seen. We know that several significant changes are under consideration and believe the public needs to be kept informed of variations to the intended scheme and that these should be open to public scrutiny otherwise we shall be presented with a fait accompli. The last official layout of the Market Place was made public 18 months ago.

We were interested to read Simon Atkinson’s letter published on 4th May. We acknowledge that the prolonged debate may be irritating to some people but we have been forced into a public campaign because the council have refused to engage with us in a meaningful way to resolve our concerns and those of our 180 supporters (including many retailers).

We respond to his comparison of Trafalgar Square with the Romsey Market Place by pointing out that to the south of the large paved pedestrian area between the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column there is a 5 way roundabout with an equestrian statue of Charles 1 in the centre. There are controlled crossings with traffic lights to facilitate the safe movement of pedestrians and traffic. However in the Market Place proposal the complex junction to the south of the paved area is uncontrolled; rights of way are not defined and there is potential for traffic from Church Street and from Bell Street meeting head-on. There are few pedestrian crossings and there is danger for pedestrians who may attempt to jaywalk through the concentrated traffic outside the Town Hall.

Retaining Lord Palmerston on his roundabout is certainly the safest and most efficient option for traffic management in the Market Place. Pavements can be substantially widened on all sides to accommodate market stalls, cafe areas and deliveries. We are continuing to press the Councils to rethink their scheme.

John Hammond, Derek Langford, Sylvia Robinson