WORK to protect Romsey from flooding is underway.

The £6.2 million flood scheme which is expected to protect 186 homes in the market town has now been launched and is set to be completed by winter.

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.

The Environment Agency (EA) said 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.

According to the EA, 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, earlier this year residents raised concerns over the impact the plans for the two spillways and bridges along The Causeway will have on the character of the area.

The EA said a final design for the bridges is yet to be chosen and confirmed the bridges and spillways will start 7m south of the Goat Willow and extend 25m southwards from that point.

As previously reported, The Causeway will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians from the second half of May to allow the work.

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.

Cllr Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “We’ve been working with partners and the local community to develop and fund a permanent flood alleviation scheme for Romsey since business and homes were affected during the winter of 2014. I’m pleased this planning has now come to fruition, full funding is in place, and the people of Romsey will see work is underway to make sure they are better protected from flooding in the future.”