Area Four

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Phoebe Merrick

Look at Romsey

Town Design Statement for Romsey

Lower Cupernham and Fishlake Meadows

Prepared by a team of volunteers in the area under the auspices of the
Romsey and District Society.

Area Map

    Area Setting and Landscape

Romsey Abbey from the playing field above Tadburn Gardens
Romsey Abbey from the playing field above Tadburn Gardens

Tadburn Gardens is situated on the southeast side of Romsey about one kilometre from the town centre. It is largely composed of housing development, including the original semi-detached houses that form its eastern border and which are characterised by their long narrow back gardens. Fencing and hedging mark the boundary between these gardens and the lower slopes of the recreation ground which rises gradually to the large flat area of common ground. Very pleasant views of Romsey may be enjoyed from this vantage point, the Abbey being one of the prominent features.

Tadburn Gardens is bordered to the west by the railway line and to the north by Botley Road. To the south attractive meadowland belonging to Broadlands is a visual amenity appreciated by residents. Similarly, the Romsey Allotments present a pleasantly open vista along the western edge lying immediately beyond the railway line.


Originally farmland, a nursery business was set up in 1926 with tomatoes as the main crop. This was thought to be the largest nursery in the south of England, and the sea of glasshouses was a dominant feature. The installation in 1928 of a railway siding allowed the transport of tomatoes and other produce to a wider area; this continued in use until the removal of the sidings in the 1950s.

In 1926 Mr Wills, the owner of the nurseries, built 24 houses for his employees in Tadburn Road, the first houses to be built here; he added Tadburn Cottages for his foremen in the 1930s. Another three houses were built on the eastern edge of Tadburn Road in the 1950s, along with the small development of Tadburn Close. Between 1965 and 1985 Tadburn Gardens as we know it today gradually took shape.

Tomato tower at Wills Nursery

Settlement Pattern

Rectilinear housing The 295 dwellings plus a small commercial site are on a plain some 20 metres above sea level. (see map)

There is a clear division between the two “halves” of the estate. The properties on the eastern half, mostly built up until the 1980s, have been laid out in a strong rectilinear pattern.

A generous distance between the rears of houses gives privacy. Within the rectilinear pattern the road and closes are wide, the roads with their associated pavements totalling 8.8m in width. The greater width gives a feeling of light within this part of the estate. The housing covers about four hectares with a density of about 23 dwellings per hectare.
The properties on the western half, built since the 1980s have been sprinkled on the landscape, the houses facing all aspects to give privacy.
Sprinkled housing

The glade in the recreation ground Serpentine roads and closes serve the houses. People and their vehicles share the same surfaces in the small closes with typical widths of 4.8 metres. The absence of pavements allows houses to be grouped more closely together. This area is about six hectares with a density of about 28 houses per hectare and includes a recreational/play space of about 0.25 hectare.

The south of the estate has three blocks of flats that occupy about a hectare of land with an extensive view of farming land to the south.

To the east of the residential area recreational land rises some 15 metres in about 60 metres through open woodland. The flat area beyond is a playing field.

Tadburn Gardens is predominantly residential taking up 11 hectares. Commercial premises occupy another hectare.

Design Guidelines

Arrow Any new development should respect the existing low-density housing.
Arrow New housing should respect the character and design of existing properties in the vicinity.
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Area Setting/Landscape/Settlement pattern Area 4