THE starting date for works to revamp Romsey town centre has been revealed.

Works to redevelop the Market Place will commence on January 7 and residents will have the chance to view the plans at a public meeting this week.

As previously reported, the transformation of the Market Place is the final part of a £3.2m improvements to the town centre.

It will follow £1.5 million improvements to Church Street in 2015, and Bell Street earlier this year.

Now the roundabout in the Market Place is set to be replaced with a large piazza-style build out around Lord Palmerston’s statue.

Civic chiefs said the scheme will make the Market Place a pedestrian-friendly area and will create a more welcoming environment for visitors and residents.

According to the proposals, York stone paving will surround the Palmerston statue, and power bollards, which can be raised to close off the area for events such as the Carols in the Market Place, will be installed at the entrances to the Market Place.

There will also be a bicycle rack and a number of new benches put in place.

The scheme led by Hampshire County Council is expected to be completed by June.

Council officers and representatives from contractor Knights Brown will be available to discuss the plans and answer questions from the public at a meeting in the Town Hall on November 28 from 5pm to 7pm.

Cllr Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “This scheme is designed not only to make access easier for everyone, but also provide more space for community events and inspire a café culture.

“I would like to reassure residents and business in Romsey that we will do all we can to keep disruption to a minimum during the works.”

As previously reported the campaign group, Re-Think Romsey Market Place, backed by around 150 residents and businesses, had opposed the plans saying incorporating a piazza cannot be achieved without causing serious safety hazards.

They suggested wide pavements around all sides with ample space for market stalls, with narrower roadways for the roundabout.

But civic chiefs said a roundabout was not an option, claiming it would take away “valuable pedestrian space”.

The plans have been welcomed by town centre manager Mark Edgerley, who said: “I welcome the Market Place enhancements, the final phase of town centre works will offer more space for pedestrians and hopefully reduce vehicle movements in Romsey.”

“There will be inconvenience to everyone during the works but with co-operation from all parties this will be minimal and the results will be beneficial to the economic well being of Romsey long term.”