FREE on-street parking spaces in Romsey town centre have been replaced as work on the Market Place begun.

The borough council has made 29 spaces in Lortemore Place car park available for free for up to one hour.

This comes after the work to revamp the Market Place started on January 7, meaning that many of the free short-stay on-street parking spaces in the town centre are temporarily unavailable.

Romsey councillor Mark Cooper said some residents raised the issue and temporary parking signs were displayed in Lortemore Place on January 15.

“In truth we should have made the spaces available when the Market Place project started on January 7. But better late than never. The Market Place works will be very disruptive but I trust Romsey residents will continue to support Romsey businesses. Don’t forget that all Test Valley car parks are free after 4pm,” councillor Cooper said.

As previously reported, the works are the last phase of the £3.2million enhancements to Romsey town centre.

Planning portfolio holder and chair of Romsey Future, councillor Nick Adams-King said: “We recognise how valuable these free, short stay parking spaces are to residents, businesses and visitors to Romsey town centre. I am therefore delighted that Test Valley Borough Council has made these spaces available for the duration of the works in the Market Place.

“My thanks to Test Valley’s parking team who moved quickly to come up with a pragmatic solution to the short-term parking problem for the benefit of Romsey’s residents, visitors and most importantly town centre businesses.”

As part of the scheme, 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.

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