CAMPAIGNERS have claimed partial victory in their battle to keep Andover Road open after the Barton Farm scheme.

The old Roman road will be turned into a pedestrian and cycle path when the main route into town is diverted through the 2,000-home estate.

But Hampshire County Council has climbed down from plans to decommission the road.

Cllr Paul Twelftree, who started a petition of more than 350 signatures against the closure, said this leaves the possibility of reopening it in future if traffic problems arise.

He has previously warned the closure will turn his ward of Littleton and Harestock into a rat-run and send heavy traffic past the estate's school and health facilities.

Cllr Twelftree said: "Although we haven't been able to persuade them at this point to scrap the mad idea of diverting the Andover Road through the new Barton Farm estate they have agreed, at our urging, to use a Traffic Regulation Order rather than a Stopping Up Order," he said.

"This means that they will keep the old Andover Road as a highway, rather than decommissioning it completely, leaving the possibility of reopening it at some point in the future when traffic problems occur - as we expect they will."

A public consultation will be held by the county council on the traffic regulation order, it has been confirmed.

It is hoped early designs for the pedestrianised route will be shown to the Barton Farm Forum on February 24.

Yvonne Keyworth, Winchester City Council's Barton Farm implementation officer, said: "This is a unique opportunity to design a leisure route with vision to be enjoyed by the people of Winchester."

Meanwhile, traffic lights have been installed at the temporary construction entrance in Andover Road North.

Work is continuing there despite a land price dispute which is holding up the scheme.

An anti-skid surface and pedestrian crossing have also been installed, although the crossing is not yet operational.

Gas utility has been laid for the first 400 houses, plus electricity for the first 200.