A POPULAR theme park near Romsey has revealed a coronavirus testing station could soon open amid the pandemic.

Paultons Park, Ower, announced the mobile station may be available at the attraction "several times a week".

Now community leaders from across Test Valley have expressed their joy after discovering the move could help locals protect themselves against the deadly bug.

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "It is a brilliant idea because it would have such a big pull from Romsey, Southampton and all of the villages in the area.

READ: Busy Romsey road could be closed for months to protect people from coronavirus >>> 

"The main thing is they have a big car park and even if it gets very busy there will still be parking spaces.

"I think University Hospital Southampton have a park and ride facility in Nursling for hospital staff, so they could go to the testing station on their way to work and on their way back."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Dorothy Baverstock Cllr Dorothy Baverstock

She added: "The only disadvantage here is for older people if they have not got a car, but at the end of the day there are ways around that, because they could use Unity buses to get them from Romsey to Paultons Park."

When asked what dates the amusement park would be open for testing, a spokesperson could not confirm this information.

Cllr Nick Adams-King, who represents Backwater on the borough council, said: "The nearest permanent testing centres as far as I am aware are in Basingstoke and Portsmouth, so to have something like that near Southampton and in our area would be a good thing.

"What is going to become much more important is the coronavirus antibody test - that is our way back to normality.

"The more people who can be tested to check they have had it the greater the awareness will be around the virus.

"This will help us reach the point where we know we are beginning to reach a period of immunity."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Nick Adams-KingCllr Nick Adams-King

Operations Director of Paultons Park, James Mancey, said: "Paultons Park is pleased to be working in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence and the NHS by providing our currently unused car parks as a base for COVID-19 mobile testing centres.

"While the park is closed, we will continue to offer this space as long as it is needed."

A spokesperson from Paultons Park added they have been informed the testing station could be available "several times a week".

READ: Theme park donates food to community project in Romsey >>> 

The centre has been set up by the Department of Health and Social Care and will be managed by Her Majesty's Armed Forces.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.

The announcement was made on Thursday, May 21.