Romsey Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Ashford Bridge

Last week the Advertiser reported on the Romsey Forum meeting at which discussed the closure of the A27 at the between The Rapids and the Ashfield Roundabout to permit the reconstruction of the railway bridge. It was reported that tempers flared.

This was certainly true. But anger was not about the bridge closure itself but the lack of notice, consultation or study on the effects of the closure. The closure will have a major impact on traffic in Romsey which will affect both individuals and businesses.

We understand that work must be done at the bridge but there appears to have been no serious attempt by either the councils involved or Railtrack to understand the impact or seek ways of reducing it. A number of solutions to reduce the impact were suggested but we were told they would be too expensive.

Unfortunately it became clear that no alternatives had actually been considered or costed and no study had been carried out to assess the financial impact on the town so it was impossible to say whether the alternatives might have been appropriate.

And the only real planning that has been done is the signed diversionary route (via Ower and Totton to comply with regulations) which will clearly be ignored by local people who will use Botley Road. This will cause interesting problems at the Winchester Road junction.

This work has been in planning for over two years but there are no plans to reduce the impact on our town centre shops or the businesses that operate in Romsey many of which have to transit through the town. This in turn will affect both employment and wages locally.

Our message to the authorities is that good solutions are found by talking to people, both individuals and businesses and providing time to develop them. The prosperity of the area depends on it.

Finally, on a more optimistic note, and much to their credit, Railtrack have said they will contribute to publicity to ensure that the effects on the Romsey will be minimised.