BOSSES at Hampshire County Council have vowed to plough on with the scheme to redevelop Market Place – despite the Department for Transport halting projects that level out pavements.

In a report last week, the department stated that it was requesting authorities across the country to pause shared space schemes – after complaints from a number of disability and sight impairment groups saying the level pavements were dangerous.

But despite new guidelines being drawn up by the government, Hampshire County Council, which is leading on the £1.6 million project, says as it is not a shared space scheme, it will continue to start in January, as reported.

The document, entitled 'The Inclusive Transport Strategy: Achieving Equal Access for Disabled People' states: "Request that local authorities pause on the installation of shared space schemes incorporating a level surface, whilst we revise our guidance on this to take account of the recommendations recently made by the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transport and advice received."

Despite the update, and hopes of groups against the exact blueprint for Market Place, the county authority said it would be continuing.

Councillor Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport, said: "While the designs for Market Place include level surfacing, it is not a shared space scheme – the routes for pedestrians and road traffic will remain distinct and separate. We have already completed two other schemes in Romsey that include the provision of level surfaces and we are confident that the Market Place scheme will complement those and, in improving access for all users, will help the social economic prosperity of the town centre."

As previously reported, the project, which forms the end of the redevelopment of Romsey's town centre following works on Bell Street and Church Street, has been given the green light and is set to start in January.

Bosses have assured that the scheme, totalling £1.6 million, will be finished by June 2019. Re-Think Romsey Market Place, backed by around 150 residents and businesses, had opposed the plans to made the area more pedestrian friendly.