PARKING in Romsey will be over capacity in five years time, civic bosses have said.

Due to current development around the town, a survey carried out by Test Valley Borough Council has shown that in the next few years, Romsey will have too many cars, and not enough space to park them in.

As part of the next Local Plan, which will decide the future of the town for the next few years, the council says it is mindful of the pressures that development in the south of Test Valley has brought.

As it stands on a Friday or Saturday, 86 per cent of spaces in the town are occupied at peak times, which are listed as between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

Deputy leader for Test Valley Borough Council, Nick Adams-King, has said the council wanted to get out ahead of the issue ahead of the Local Plan, and the project for the town by Romsey Future.

He said: "This survey shows that at present there is sufficient parking capacity in Romsey. However, the projections for five to ten years time show that may no longer be the case.

"Though it is difficult to predict the exact requirements given that there are a number of influencing factors including the role of internet shopping and rising cost of fuel, we have already started work to identify solutions to the potential future problem of insufficient parking in the town."

Possible solutions to the issue that will work alongside the Romsey Future project, include expansion of Alma Road and Romsey Rapids car parks, in land that is owned by the authority.

Cllr Adams-King added: "By highlighting this issue, anticipating the potential pressures and working with the community to identify solutions, I am confident we can avoid any future problems and ensure our town centre remains easily accessible, and more importantly, successful."

Romsey Town Centre Manager Mark Edgerley added: "Currently car parks are operating at around 85 per cent capacity so there will be a point soon when finding a space gets harder.

"Part of the study will look at information technology to inform people where the spaces are."