Area Nine

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Phoebe Merrick

Look at Romsey

Town Design Statement for Romsey

Romsey Town Outer Core

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

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Settings / Landscape and Views

Romsey Library, once a school for boys.
Romsey Library, once a school for boys.

The outer core of Romsey town centre forms an arc that lies on level ground between the historic town centre and the railway embankment to the east and north. Prior to 1845 it was largely agricultural with very few buildings. Most building in this part of Romsey has taken place since 1890.

Two turnpike roads had been constructed across the area in the mid-eighteenth century, namely Winchester Road to the east, and Greatbridge Road to the north. In 1794 a canal from Andover to Redbridge was opened which traversed the eastern side of this area and cut the town off from easy access to the Cupernham slopes.

However the major feature that has defined the area of Romsey’s outer core is the railway line between Salisbury and Bishopstoke (Eastleigh) built in 1846. A railway station was built and roads constructed to give access. These were named Station Road, Alma Road and Duttons Road. The railway stands on an embankment well above the prevailing land. It forms a significant barrier between Romsey town and the countryside to the north. The railway bridge over the old canal
The railway bridge over the old canal

Railway bridge, Greatbridge Road
Railway bridge, Greatbridge Road

Railway bridge, Winchester Road
Railway bridge, Winchester Road

Around 1864, a second railway line, to Southampton, was built and the canal was closed, although water remains in the stretch through Romsey. At the same time the old road to Southampton that went through Broadlands was closed and a new road constructed further east.




Railway bridges crossing Greatbridge Road and Winchester Road mark the limits of Romsey’s central outer core. Both make very conspicuous features.

However in the 1930s a southern by-pass of the town centre was created. It is now linked to Southampton Road, near the Gunville Gatehouse, by a substantial roundabout.

A northern by-pass of the town centre was planned along the route of Malmesbury Road and Mountbatten Avenue, but the idea was discarded, and Mountbatten Avenue became residential although Malmesbury Road forms part of A3057 as does Alma Road.

Gunville Gatehouse: the tollgate house in the 'new' Southampton Road of the 1860s.
Gunville Gatehouse: the tollgate house in the 'new' Southampton Road of the 1860s.

Not only is the area traversed by rail, main roads and canal, but every water course in Romsey can be seen here – the Tadburn, the Fishlake and various braids of the Test.

View across roofs to the Abbey Church
View across roofs to the Abbey Church
The level nature of the ground means that there are no spectacular views, but the area shares with much of the rest of the town pleasing glimpses of Romsey abbey church, and Green Hill and the trees in Botley Road cemetery. Within the area, the varied nature of rooflines and especially the roofs of the library and the remaining brewery buildings give texture to the view.

The only sloping ground in this area is found in Greatbridge Road where the land to the east is noticeably higher than that to the west.

The outer core of Romsey town centre contains several large plots of land that have been developed by single owners, principally the old Romsey Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and Strong’s Brewery. The County Council built schools at either end of this area, one being the Romsey Community School and the other Romsey Infant and Nursery School.

Design Recommendations

Arrow Preserve and where possible extend the varied skyline.


Settlement Pattern

Most of the houses and other buildings line the streets giving a traditional urban character to the area. This is particularly true of the building that took place before 1960. Priestlands Terrace in Greatbridge Road
Priestlands Terrace in Greatbridge Road

Later developments have not always adhered to this approach. The Harrage is constructed in a series of bays around which the houses are built. Knatchbull Close is built around several courtyard cum parking areas, whilst Lansdowne Gardens is Arcadian with the houses set in a parkland environment away from roads. All three of these examples are residential streets with no through way for traffic.

Alma Road has a disjointed street line
Alma Road has a disjointed street line
Most of the street lines have survived intact and thereby create a truly urban environment. However at the southern part of Alma Road and nearby parts of Winchester Road the street line has become very disjointed.

Design Recommendations

Arrow Ensure that the permeability of the area is maintained and that no new dead ends are created.
Arrow New building or development should maintain the building line of established streets.


Open and Other spaces

There is little in the way of open space in the outer core of Romsey town centre apart from the playing fields associated with the two schools on private land.

Allotments and sports facilities lie south of the Tadburn and By-pass and although close to the town they are not within the urban envelope.

The Rapids Roundabout contains a grassed space with small raised flower beds which are used for formal displays, but are not universally popular. The railings along the By-pass are decorated with baskets of flowers that are well liked.

There is a triangle of land at the intersection of Malmesbury Road and Duttons Road and this provides an important place for local children’s informal play. There is also a small amount of grass land beyond the houses in Priestlands, and a small green in Knatchbull Close. Other than these, this area has no public open spaces. Open space, Duttons Road and Malmesbury Road.
Open space, Duttons Road and Malmesbury Road.

Lansdowne Gardens is a private managed area containing grass, shrubs and trees between the buildings. The well tended private lawns in The Harrage enhance that street.

Design Recommendations

Arrow Keep the open spaces in the area and ensure their proper restoration when they are damaged.
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Settings, Views, Settlement Pattern, Open spaces - Area 9