ROMSEY residents had the opportunity to quiz contractors and council officers ahead of the start of work on the town’s Market Place.

The Town Hall was packed with residents on Wednesday as dozens took part in a public meeting held in the afternoon.

Representatives from contractor Knights Brown were on hand to discuss the plans and answer questions from the public.

The meeting came after last week civic chiefs confirmed that work to redevelop the Market Place will start on January 7.

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

York stone paving will surround the Palmerston statue, and power bollards 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.

Residents who attended the meeting welcomed the scheme but raised concerns about the impact the work and the improvements will have on traffic.

Chris Inman, 71, retired, from Romsey, said: “I’m sure the Market Place will be fine in the end. I am concerned about traffic while they are doing the work, and after. I’m a bit concerned about the flow of the traffic. If you block the arch for any reason, the only way in is Church Lane which is a one-way system and can only be managed with traffic lights.”

Romsey resident Paul Quinnell added: “If people park responsibly, everything will run smoothly. Having a plaza will benefit the local community, and in addition there is designated parking for unloading vehicles and that will facilitate the flow of traffic. We have seen improvements in Bell Street and Church Street and I believe this is good again for Romsey.”

Representatives from Knights Brown said the diversion routes will be the same as the one adopted while the works on Bell Street were carried out.

Lee Devaney from Knights Brown said: “Our company aims to install this with the least disruption to leave a long-standing improvement to the town centre. People are making suggestions we are taking onboard.”

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. The scheme is led by Hampshire County Council.