A MULTIMILLION-pound scheme to protect Romsey from flooding is set to start next week.

Work on the £6.2 million flood scheme, which aims to give better protection to 186 homes in the market town, will start on March 25 and is due to finish ahead of winter.

As previously reported, as part of the project two new bridges and spillways are going to be built along The Causeway.

The scheme will cover three key areas of construction including works along the main River Test to reduce the risk of river flooding; highway work at Mainstone and improved drainage at Middlebridge Street, both to reduce the risk from surface water.

According to the Environment Agency (EA), the River Test works will consist of a flow control structure at the top of the Fishlake Stream, to restrict the amount of water going directly through the town in case of flooding.

The EA said this will allow the floodplain to the west to fill up and direct the flood waters away from the Budds Lane area of Romsey.

Drainage of the floodplain back into the main river south of the town are also set to be improved through the provision of two spillways along The Causeway.

As previously reported, the plans for the two spillways and bridges along The Causeway sparked a heated debate among residents, with some raising concerns over the impact the work will have on the character of the area.

Last month residents were asked for their views over the designs of the new bridges.

Now the EA said a final design is yet to be chosen and confirmed that The Causeway will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians from the second half of May.

According to the EA the bridges and spillways will start 7m south of the Goat Willow and extend 25m southwards from that point.

The flood scheme has been partnership funded with £1.499 million from Hampshire County Council and £325k from Test Valley Borough Council. An additional £1.157 million was provided by local levy from the Southern Regional Food and Coastal Committee with the remainder coming from central government funding.

David Martin, Romsey flood team leader at the EA, said: “The Romsey flood scheme represents a genuine success in partnership working. Only by coming together and finding a solution to covering the costs have we been able to finance and build this remarkable project. Although we can never completely eradicate flooding and would recommend that anyone whose home is at risk has a flood plan, to reduce the risk so significantly to so many local homes represents a fantastic achievement for Romsey. This is an important part of the Environment Agency’s national effort to reduce the risk of flooding for at least 300,000 homes by 2020/21.”