A MAIN road running through the centre of Romsey has been closed in a bid to protect people from coronavirus.

Romsey's town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, confirmed The Hundred was shut to traffic by Hampshire County Council (HCC) on "late Wednesday afternoon".

This should help people socially distance by providing more road space for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Hundred is now shut to through traffic “except for access” between the Market Place and the vehicle access on the side of Superdrug.

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From this access to the junction with Latimer Street, the road will be fully closed to all vehicles.

These new measures will be in place during all times of the day.

However, it has not been confirmed how long this temporary closure will be in place.

The scheme has been agreed with Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), who claim they have offered to pay half of the costs, which could total £8,000.

According to HCC, the scheme was put forward in an effort to support "local businesses" by keeping access to parking behind Superdrug.

Now community leaders have shared their thoughts on The Hundred being closed after they pleaded with HCC to close the road to drivers for when shops reopened on Monday, June 15.

Mr Edgerley said: "I am pleased that it is all in place now and the county council listened to our suggestions.

"I have a feeling, from what I have seen on social media, the majority of people support the road closure.

"However, there is a hardcore group of people who have posted multiple comments saying they are vehemently against it."

Romsey Advertiser: Mark Edgerley Mark Edgerley

Mr Edgerley confirmed signs have been placed on all roads into Romsey encouraging drivers to use car parks and walk into the town centre.

He added some of the temporary one-way signs in Stirling Walk have been removed, as they caused "confusion for shoppers".

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Cllr Mark Cooper, who represents Romsey Town on HCC, said: "I am very pleased to see the county council has managed to find a way to make shopping in The Hundred safer by allowing residents to social distance when they are queuing outside of the shops, or walking down The Hundred.

"There will be a minor inconvenience for residents who cannot access The Hundred by their car, but I am convinced that inconvenience is far outweighed by the benefits of the closure."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Mark CooperCllr Mark Cooper

Deputy leader of TVBC, cllr Nick Adams-King, said: "A huge thank you to everyone who lobbied for this work, particularly Mark Edgerley for his persistence, tenacity and dedication in pressing for the closure on behalf of the town council.

"Test Valley Borough Council unlocked the scheme by offering to pay for half the closure costs, amounting to approximately £8,000."

He added: "Credit should also go to Paul Jackson, the head of planning at Test Valley Borough Council who was assiduous in using his contacts at Hampshire County Council to negotiate the scheme to the top of the county's to-do list in remarkable time."

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

HCC has been contacted for comment.