Hampshire County Council will close a main road in Basingstoke indefinitely from next week.

Chapel Hill, which links Houndmills to the town centre, will be shut to all regular traffic apart from buses and taxis.

Councillor Michael Westbrook said this is to "help enable social distancing measures" and to allow more people to walk and cycle easily.

In a letter to The Gazette, he acknowledged that ordinarily, the authority would have to seek the public's views before pressing ahead with such measures.

He said: "During normal times, changes such as this trial proposed would have had the benefit of full public consultation, but these are not normal times.

"Unfortunately, there is no time for full public consultation on this proposal, and this I understand is the case for all of the social distancing schemes across the County.

He continued: "Government guidance states that ‘Measures should be taken as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks, given the urgent need to change travel habits before the restart takes full effect’. The County Council have had to work at pace to support the safe, economic recovery of Hampshire as national Covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease."

The news has come as a blow to publican Kevin Divall, whose pub The Rising Sun, has been out of action since the lockdown measures were intrdocued.

He has accused Hampshire County Council of exploiting "its Covid-19 powers" to shut Chapel Hill without consulting the public.

Cllr Westbrook said the terrible crisis was anopportunity to "transform the enviroment" in many towns.