PLANS to keep The Hundred closed to traffic in Romsey town centre and transform a nearby “rat run” into a one way system have been heavily criticised by leaders.

At a Romsey Town Council (RTC) planning meeting, councillors unanimously agreed the scheme should be stopped in its tracks.

The Hundred closed to traffic on July 1 in a bid to help people socially distance by providing more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

The controversial decision sparked anger among some residents living in Portersbridge Street after it became a “rat run”, with cars using the road as a cut through, according to county councillor for Romsey Town, Mark Cooper.

Portersbridge street could be turned into a one way system as part of an online consultation launched by Hampshire County Council (HCC) to improve The Hundred’s temporary closure.

In a letter to county councillor, Rob Humby, Cllr Cooper urged the local authority to rethink the scheme, believing hundreds of residents will face a diversion route spanning more than a mile when leaving town.

He said when the "ineffective 'access only' sign went up at the western end of Portersbridge Street" to reduce congestion, drivers were forced to travel up Cherville Street and Greatbridge Road before eventually turning onto Alma Road.

"This is a long route, a diversion of 1.6 miles, [and] is simply not sustainable in terms of the increased carbon footprint caused by the hundreds of residents living west of the town centre having to drive a greater distance to egress the town," Cllr Cooper stressed.

Romsey Advertiser: Mark CooperMark Cooper

He feared residents' quality of life in the town will take another blow if The Hundred remains closed now schools have reopened and more traffic is on the road.

He explained: "The 8th of March saw The Romsey School back in full operation. This will have a major impact on traffic generation at each end of the day and the quality of life of residents will be further impacted if we keep The Hundred closed and Portersbridge Street one way."

However, Cllr Cooper did add HCC could use its £3.28 million green recovery bid from the Government to improve The Hundred so cars can only travel through the town centre slowly.

He suggested: "If the county can use Government grants to enhance pedestrian environments [and] remove the kerbs from The Hundred east of Boots to create a level surface with a very narrow running area for vehicles, that would be an appropriate way forward.

"The vehicles can come through, but at a very low speed."

RTC's meeting was held on February 25.

As reported, one woman who lives on Portersbridge Street, Carol Fowler, blasted the plans to keep The Hundred closed and insisted at peak times in the day cars are spotted driving past her house "every minute" since The Hundred shut.

The 78-year-old complained because the pavement separating her house from the road is "around 50cm" wide she is forced to wait for cars to pass before she can safely exit her home.

HCC's consultation on the plans will run until midnight Sunday, March 14.

To take part in the survey, follow http://bit.ly/38jGc4L