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Look at Romsey

A town design statement for Romsey

Project Overview

Streets and Street Furniture

Plaque near Lortemore car park
Plaque near Lortemore car park
Walking around Romsey and looking at the town gives pleasure to many people. The town has a mixture of street styles and street furniture. A number of plaques enable the visitor to learn more about particular places in the town.


In parts of the historic core, Victorian style lamp standards have been installed, while in other parts of the town, concrete lamp standards and overhead cables dominate the skyline The approach to Romsey Abbey
The approach to Romsey Abbey

Decorative lamp bracket at Town Hall
Decorative lamp bracket at Town Hall
There is a limited amount of public art within the town centre, including the figure of Lord Palmerston in the Market Place and the town's War Memorial in the Memorial Park. In addition, there are examples of decorative ironwork in the town centre.


There are, however, some areas where improvements could be made. For example, street name signs have been placed with motorists in mind, and the needs of pedestrians walking through footpaths are not always met. Many of the street names face only one way so that traffic coming from another direction cannot read them.

The number and placement of traffic signs, though necessary, sometimes block the sight of neighbouring buildings, and motor trade forecourts tend to interrupt the flow of the street lines.

Sign on path at Great Woodley
Sign on path at Great Woodley


Straight Mile leading to Romsey
Straight Mile leading to Romsey
Romsey has a mixed group of approach roads. Some are outstandingly attractive, like the Straight Mile (A3090), but others have less cohesion and therefore do not make the town as inviting as they might.


Footway in need of repairMany of the outer town estates have grass strips between footpath and road which create a feeling of spaciousness but there are several residential roads, built in the mid-twentieth century, that need refurbishment. They have become tired and both the road surface and the surroundings have a run-down appearance. Trees and grass edges, Northlands Road
Trees and grass edges, Northlands Road


Design Recommendations

Arrow Road name plates should reflect the needs of pedestrians as well as motorists.
Arrow The approach roads to the town could be made more attractive and encouraging to potential visitors.
Arrow The state of the street scene of several of the mid-twentieth century housing estates should be reviewed


Trees, Hedges and other Landscape features

The tree-lined By-pass
The tree-lined By-pass
Romsey is blessed with many trees, both standing alone as architectural features and in lines. One of the favourite rows of trees is that of the ornamental cherries along the By-pass. The By-pass is also graced by avenues of Lombardy poplars and maples.


Within the town centre, there are avenues of chestnuts along the south side of Broadwater Road and in Malmesbury Road. Pollarded limes are a feature of the North Garth of the Abbey church. Pollarded limes near the Abbey School
Pollarded limes near the Abbey School


Oak trees framing Brook Way
Oak trees framing Brook Way
Amongst other avenues of trees that are of considerable landscape importance are the limes at the entrance to Viney Avenue and behind Montfort College. There is a fine row of oak trees to the north of Brook Way.

Mature trees are found along the approach roads such as Botley Road and the upper part of Winchester Road.

The town has a number of ornamental trees that form important landscape features. Examples include the horse chestnut beside the library, the Wellingtonia that forms part of the skyline at the top of Winchester Hill or the cedars and a monkey puzzle tree (araucaria) in Botley Road cemetery.

Many of the residential streets have small trees growing alongside the footpath, including several flowering species. Mistletoe grows on trees in several areas. Many of the open spaces within housing estates have attractive stands of trees, such as those in Carisbrooke Court, Ashley Meadows or Tadfield Road. Holm Oak in Five Elms Drive
Holm Oak in Five Elms Drive

Design Recommendations

Arrow The avenues of trees about the town are a great asset in the landscape. When trees are removed they should normally be replaced.


Boundary Features

In the residential areas, many of the modern estates were laid out with open plan front gardens. The fate of these features is variable. Some retain their openness, either as gardens or as parking places with hard landscaping. A few have been enclosed with tall hedges which detract from the spacious feel of the estate.

Traditional privet hedge in The Abbey
Traditional privet hedge in The Abbey
Some housing estates have been laid out in such a way that the old field boundaries have been respected and in some case the hedgerows have been retained. There are also hedges lining several of the older footpaths. Most are well maintained, but others are neglected and may be lost unless remedial action is taken.


The older parts of town have a variety of hedges and fences that reflect their age. Thus the large houses at the top of Winchester Hill are set back behind tall shrubs, while the smaller houses in Botley Road have a mixture of walls and privet hedges. Cottage gardens in Mill Lane
Cottage gardens in Mill Lane

Further into town, many of the houses have low walls at the front of their gardens, which used to be topped with metal railings. Some of these have been replaced, though not always in such a way as to bring unity to the street scene.

Barrier in Abbey Water
Barrier in Abbey Water
There are some attractive railings alongside some of the streams which enhance both the street and the water. By contrast Abbey Water is enclosed in a concrete wall with a tubular rail on top.

Some properties have substantial brick walls often surrounding their back gardens. These are usually built of bricks similar to those of the nearby houses. In addition the town has a number of gateways that form focal points.

The railway embankment forms a very definite boundary between the old parts of Romsey and the newer roads. Recent maintenance work has shown that it is an interesting feature of the town. It is sufficiently prominent that any neglect is very apparent.

Design Recommendations

Arrow Where an estate was designed as open plan, owners should be encouraged to grow suitable plants that are in keeping with the plan of the estate.
Arrow Hedges are a valuable feature in the landscape which both local authorities and private owners should be encouraged to maintain.
Arrow Over-high fences in front gardens, out of scale with their surroundings, should be discouraged.
Arrow Suitable metal railings should be encouraged on older properties where they were removed in the 1940s.
Arrow The recent improvements in the appearance of the railway embankment should be sustained.


Final Note

This overview gives a flavour of the work carried out by the twelve different groups of Romsey residents. Each group has drawn up its own detailed, descriptive account of the area in which its members live, together with recommendations for future policy and action. Their twelve separate reports and this Overview together form a Design Statement for the town of Romsey. It is hoped that each of them separately and all of them together will prove of great interest to present and future residents of Romsey.

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