MORE than six months of work to a Romsey road has given the town 'a fresh look' according to the leader of the county council.

As previously reported, Bell Street has reopened in Romsey, and leader Roy Perry believes the town is now more attractive to shoppers after the changes, which has seen the road level with the pavements.

The work came as part of a project to make Romsey more pedestrian-friendly, which is the aim of Hampshire County Council. The next phase is the Market Place scheme, that is set to start in January next year.

Leader Roy Perry said: "This scheme, complimenting the recent improvements in Church Street, is deigned to help Romsey prosper as a thriving market town for many years to come. It has given the town a fresh look, and has made it easier to navigate by foot, making it more attractive to shoppers and visitors, whether they are passing through or are local, bringing a boost to the local economy, while retaining the town's historic character."

The project began in September 2017, and the road reopened late last month.

The council say now it has finished, the scheme has addressed the 'longstanding issue' of narrow pavements in Bell Street from its junction with Middlebridge Street to south of Market Place. After similar works in Church Street, the project now represents a £1.5-million investment in the town.

Tom Garrett, business manager at Colas, thanked the town for its patience and understanding during the project. Art gallery, cafe, and community hub, Rum's Eg, blamed the road closure on it having to shut down.

Tom said: "The project at Bell Street has not been without its challenged but despite these, Colas Ltd and Hampshire County Council have managed to successfully complete the works on time and with minimal disruption to the public.

"We believe that communication is key to a project of this sensitive nature, so worked closely with residents and local businesses throughout to ensure any issues were dealt with swiftly."

Deputy leader and planning and transport portfolio holder at Test Valley Borough Council, Nick Adams-King, said it was important to continue to boost the local economy.

He said: "I am pleased that TVBC has been able to contribute towards funding the project and our councillors and officers have been instrumental in helping to shape the scheme. It is important that we do all we can to continue to boost the local economy."