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  • Writer's pictureRomsey Future

Romsey residents set to tackle town centre redevelopment question

Residents are set to come together later this year to look at the proposed redevelopment of the area south of Romsey town centre.

Fifty local residents will be chosen at random to form a citizen assembly to explore how to improve the area around Crosfield Hall and the bus station to deliver the maximum benefit to Romsey. Their recommendations will be incorporated into a masterplan for the area.  

Test Valley Borough Council, in association with Romsey Future, is one of three organisations across the country chosen to take part in a national pilot to trial citizen assemblies.

Letters will go out to 10,000 households on September 30 inviting people to register their interest. Of those who respond, around 50 people will be chosen to take part in the assembly, which will take place in Romsey over the weekends of November 9 and 10 and November 23 and 24.

The assembly will be given key facts, figures and statistics as well as evidence from subject matter experts and community representatives. 

They will then consider all of the evidence and make a recommendation to the Romsey Future Partnership and Test Valley Borough Council to help shape a major planning document for the area which will set out what they want to achieve and guide developers. The masterplan for the south of the town centre is currently being progressed by Nexus Planning and Perkins and Will architects who will also be providing evidence to the assembly.

Romsey Future chair, Councillor Nick Adams-King, said: “It is brilliant that we are about to embark on this pioneering work in Romsey to test the water for citizens’ assemblies. We have heard through our Romsey Future consultations that people are passionate about improving the south of the town centre. The citizens’ assembly will give residents a real opportunity to play a pivotal role in the next stage of consultation which will determine how the redevelopment of this area will look.

“This very much builds on the work undertaken by Romsey Future over the past 18 months relating to the south of the town centre and is an incredible opportunity for Romsey Future and the council to learn from and share our experience with others as national pathfinders. We are really excited to be able to take part in this innovative process and are looking forward to watching this play out over the coming months.”

The council has been granted £60k to trial the assemblies and will receive support from a number of consultant organisations including the Democratic Society, the Royal Society of Arts, My Society and Involve.

The programme, run by the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, will see the council explore the role that groups of Test Valley residents can contribute to big issues facing the council. The authority was selected due to its track record of seeking to transform democracy locally through projects and initiatives such as Romsey Future and Andover Vision.

Read more about the Citizens' Assembly here.

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