Hampshire County Council’s Leader, Councillor Roy Perry, explained: “This scheme, complimenting the recent improvements in Church Street, is designed to help Romsey prosper as a thriving market town for many years to come. It has given the town a fresh look, and has made it easier to navigate by foot, making it more attractive to shoppers and visitors, whether they are passing through or are local, bringing a boost to the local economy, while retaining the town’s historic character.”
The project has been completed on schedule and within budget. The appointed contractor, Colas, began the scheme in September 2017, and worked closely with the local business community throughout to ensure disruption was kept to a minimum. Work was suspended at Romsey’s busiest times - the Romsey Show and a six week Christmas period so as not to disrupt this busy trading time or the Winter Carnival.
Tom Garrett, Colas Business Manager Contracting South said: “The project at Bell Street has not been without its challenges but despite these, Colas Ltd and Hampshire County Council have managed to successfully complete the works on time and with minimal disruption to the public. We believe that communication is key to a project of this sensitive nature so worked closely with residents and local businesses throughout to ensure any issues were dealt with swiftly and to keep all parties up to date with the progress of our works.
“We would like to thank the people of Romsey for their patience and understanding during the works.”
Mark Edgerley, Romsey Town Centre Manager, added: “It is good to have Bell Street fully reopen to the public; it is already clear from comments made to me that the final design is appreciated by the public especially those with push chairs and those using wheelchairs or mobility scooters. We also look forward to using the street occasionally for events, taking advantage of the open level space for specialist markets encouraging even more people to explore the range of shops that prosper in the street.”
The scheme has addressed the longstanding issue of narrow pavements in Bell Street from the junction with Middlebridge Street to just south of the Market Place, and, together with the improvements in Church Street, represents a £1.5 million investment in the town.
Test Valley Borough Council’s Planning and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Nick Adams-King, said: "It is important that we do all we can to continue to boost the local economy and encourage people to visit the town. I am pleased that Test Valley Borough Council has been able to contribute towards funding the project and our councillors and officers have been instrumental in helping to shape the scheme."