South of town centre project nominated for national prize
The plans to transform the future of Romsey have been shortlisted for a national award.
Test Valley Borough Council and The Romsey Future partnership has been working with consultants Nexus and Perkins and Will Architects to draw up draft proposals that could transform the area south of Romsey’s town centre. This followed a large scale consultation where many people told us area could be much improved to increase the town’s appeal.
Now, after the plans were published and the second stage of the consultation process came to an end, the proposals have been shortlisted for the National Planning Awards 2020, in the stakeholder engagement category. The winner will be announced in September.
The process for transforming the area began when members of Romsey Future, representing different areas and groups in the town, personally selected the consultants who they felt would be best placed to engage with the town.
In 2018, the first stage of the consultation was launched. This consisted of walk and talk tours of the area, engaging with school competitions and attending key events.
Late in 2019, the project was chosen in a project of national significance as one of three piloted citizens’ assemblies, which then built upon years of work alongside the community. Around 50 people came together, listened to experts and explored the area, before putting forward a number of recommendations around the area.
Following work that was then undertaken by the consultants to capture all of this information, the second stage of the consultation began earlier this year alongside the publication of the draft plans. Running for six weeks, an online survey was live alongside other stakeholder events.
Overall, thousands of comments from residents of all ages have been collected in the process so far. A new green shopping space on Broadwater Road, opening up access to the Fishlake stream and a new location for the Aldi supermarket are now some of the key themes being considered as part of the proposals.
Chair of Romsey Future, councillor Nick Adams-King, said: “This shortlisting for a national award is testament to the hard work of the TVBC staff, Romsey Future stakeholders and many others. However, none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the fantastic work that has been done by our consultants Nexus and Perkins and Will Architects.
“The response we have had from members of the public in and around Romsey has been fantastic. The citizens’ assembly was new for all of us and was indeed a national pilot in partnership with government. We were incredibly grateful for the impact it has had on the project. Now we’re all looking forward at what this engagement can bring for the future of our town.”
Zena Foale-Banks, Masterplanner at Nexus Planning commented: “It has been hugely rewarding to work with Romsey Future, Test Valley Borough Council and the wider Romsey community on the South of Romsey Town Centre Masterplan. Through innovative methods of engagement, including two major rounds of consultation and a trail-blazing ‘Citizens’ Assembly’, the community has challenged us to achieve the right balance between protecting the unique character and qualities of Romsey, opportunities for new businesses and services, enhanced sustainable transport and creating new and exciting green and blue infrastructure. The result is an emerging Masterplan that is innovative, resilient and deliverable.”