PLANS to temporarily shut the main road through the heart of Romsey – in a bid to protect people from coronavirus – could be one step closer.

Hampshire County Council (HCC) has announced that The Hundred has now been added to its list of projects to help people socially distance by providing more road space for pedestrians and cyclists.

This comes after community leaders from across Test Valley pleaded with HCC to close the road to drivers for when shops reopened on Monday.

They argued this would allow locals to support local businesses while still staying a safe distance apart.

READ: Residents urged to lobby HCC to close The Hundred >>> 

Now, Romsey councillors have reacted to the news, which would see The Hundred shut between Bell Street and Latimer Street.

However, no date has been set as to when it will close, although it is expected to imminently.

Romsey town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, said: "I am very pleased to see closing The Hundred is on the county council's list now and I am sure all of the Romsey town councillors will be too.

"It really has been a slow decision from the county and I am partly convinced it is on their list because there has been so much support from all of the town councillors and Test Valley Borough Council, who have been pushing for it as well."

Romsey Advertiser: Town centre manager, Mark Edgerley Town centre manager, Mark Edgerley

Mayor of Romsey, Cllr Janet Burnage, said: "It is good that at last HCC have recognised the need to close The Hundred to through traffic during the current COVID-19 situation, but when will this happen is the next question?

"Let's hope it is soon because without this closure it is very difficult to safely follow the social distancing rules that are required and the safety of the residents and visitors to Romsey is paramount.

"We all want to see Romsey back to being a vibrant town and if people feel they can safely come to Romsey and visits the shops then I am sure that before long the town will be buzzing again."

READ: Romsey businesses poised to reopen amid coronavirus >>>  

Romsey Advertiser: Mayor of Romsey, cllr Janet Burnage Mayor of Romsey, cllr Janet Burnage

She added: "We are already seeing signs of this in the Market Place, but it now needs to filter through the whole town."

Cllr Mark Cooper, who represents Romsey Tadburn on Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), said: "This positive move has come as a result of the town centre manager, the public and Test Valley councillors putting pressure on the county council to include The Hundred on their list of road closures.

"However, closing The Hundred is something we need to happen urgently, not in two or three weeks, because we have to make sure residents feel safe in the town centre.

"It is very slow progress by the county council, which is very frustrating, because we have been asking them to close the road since April 27."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Mark CooperCllr Mark Cooper

Deputy leader of TVBC, cllr Nick Adams-King, said: "I am really grateful to everybody who has worked hard on progressing this issue and to all the community support there has been for closing The Hundred.

"I am sure we can work around access issues for people living in The Hundred and those who need shop deliveries, but I think it is vital in the short term to maintain everyone's safety while we have to socially distance in the town centre."

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

READ: Romsey and Test Valley residents react to poll on shops reopening >>> 

As previously reported in the Romsey Advertiser, town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, urged residents to lobby HCC in a bid to help shut the road.

HCC has been contacted for comment.