Future of Romsey unveiled in final masterplan
The masterplan that shows what Romsey’s south of town centre could look like in the next few years has been officially released after a two-year process.
A Fishlake Square, new retail and dining space and a new mobility hub are just some of the potential plans for the area around Crosfield Hall and the Broadwater Road car park over the next five to ten years.
The masterplanning process begun through the Romsey Future partnership in 2018 after consultants Nexus and Perkins & Will Architects were appointed. Romsey Future includes representatives from a range of organisations such as Romsey Town Council, Romsey Extra Parish Council, the Romsey and District Society as well as Test Valley Borough Council and other voluntary organisations.
This two-year period has seen multiple consultations with the general public, businesses and other community organisations. Last November, a Citizens’ Assembly was held where around 50 people who matched the demographic of Romsey were randomly selected to listen to experts and evidence before giving their recommendations on what to do with the area.
Following their views, and a further round of public consultation earlier this year, the masterplan has now been finalised and will be presented to full council for adoption on September 2.
The masterplan covers short, medium and long-term scenarios for the area, meaning the flexibility of the plans can be tailored to markets and any developer partners.
The short-term plans include terraced seating and improving the views to the Fishlake stream as it runs along the current bus station and down towards Dukes Mill, as well as transforming Broadwater Road with new pedestrian surfaces and access points. Other proposals for this stage include the improvement of pedestrian and cycle routes along the bypass and creating better access into the area over Tadburn Lake.
For the medium-term, a new mobility hub would be created within a new relocated bus station. The mobility hub would include bicycle storage and ‘Amazon-style’ collection and storage lockers. It would also maintain the same number of bus stops in a more efficient use of space for both cyclists and pedestrians.
A new mixed-use development would then be put in place on the existing bus station site, and this would include commercial space on the ground level, which could include restaurants and dining outlets. It would also house residential properties on the upper levels, while new community space would also be created on the ground levels of the buildings. The current Crosfield Hall site would instead be utilised for parking, while maintaining easy access for pedestrians over to the mobility hub and onward into the rest of Romsey.
Before the current Crosfield Hall site is transformed, alternative community space would be provided elsewhere in the town. Public toilets and other facilities would also be built into the area and the creation of a new public plaza called Fishlake Square would take full advantage of the newly-opened Fishlake Stream.
The longer-term proposals cover the next five to ten years and include the relocation of the Aldi store to the current Crosfield Hall site. Considerate and appropriate parking would also be put in place for the store’s new location, while the current Aldi site could be used for a number of different uses. These include community space, offices, a gym, restaurants and dining space and retail outlets that could then face The Hundred for smaller independent businesses. The current Aldi car park would be redesigned to accommodate almost 200 spaces in a suitable and more attractive manner.
The Fishlake Square and mobility hub suggested in the medium-term proposals would also coexist with the new Aldi relocation plans in this scenario.
Local plan workstream lead, councillor John Parker, said: “This document shows how bright the future of our town can truly be, and how we can really make the most of our potential for this area. The plans are considerate, green and really take into account the character of Romsey, which is something we all want to ensure is maintained in any new plans. My thanks to everyone who took time to find out about this project and who contributed to it over the past two years. We are on the path to something potentially very special for our town.”
Town centre workstream lead, Mark Edgerley, said: “Having plans that are flexible to the future of our town is absolutely vital, and I’m pleased to see that this is reflected in the final masterplan. These ideas support the potential for more independent business and the possibility to create more retail units facing The Hundred.
“Access will be improved and there is more of an impetus on cycling and walking with a new mobility hub, which benefits our environment, our residents, and our community. This is the future of Romsey.”
Romsey Tadburn councillor, Mark Cooper, added: “While we rightly celebrate the history of our town, we need to make sure it prospers, moving forward. The consultation process has been extremely extensive and has resulted in a well-rounded, thought-out document that takes into account our history, our present, and how best to achieve a successful future. Thank you to everybody who took part, and hopefully this is a masterplan of which we can all be proud and excited by.”
The masterplan will be put before full council on September 2 for adoption.