LONG-MOOTED and controversial plans to close a major Winchester route could be altered to allow use by park and ride buses.

Andover Road is set to be closed, with traffic re-routed through the Kings Barton estate, via Winchester Avenue.

The proposed closure is unpopular with many and campaigners have been lobbying to retain the route, which takes traffic into and out of the centre to the north.

As part of the Winchester Movement Strategy proposal, it is suggested that bus access for the proposed new northern park and ride on the ‘Andover Road Corridor’, could be maintained alongside the proposed walking and cycling route.

But, if this were to go ahead Kings Barton estate developer Cala Homes would have to submit a variation to the planning permission and would require a redesign of the Andover Road/Harestock Road junction.

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At a meeting of Winchester City Council last Wednesday, Kings Worthy parish councillor Signe Biddle asked whether the developer has been asked to submit a variation.

Cllr Martin Tod, cabinet member for economic recovery, said: “A planning application to revise the design of the northern Kings Barton junction cannot practically happen until Hampshire County Council and Cala Homes have agreed on a new design for that junction – and that is not currently the case. A junction design that is opposed by Hampshire County Council will not be approved. A junction design that is not supported by Cala Homes will not be built – since they have full and irrevocable permission granted by the Secretary of State to build the currently approved junction design should they wish to do so.

“We continue to pressure both parties to come an agreement on the earliest possible timing.”

He continued: “In the unlikely event that neither party submits a planning application following an agreement to a new junction design, we will be more than happy to ask the parties involved to do so.”

Cllr Tod said the currently agreed design is “no longer consistent with modern standards”.

He continued: “The Northern Park and Ride remains a critical priority to cut city centre traffic and pollution, by encouraging people travelling to Winchester from the north to switch to Park and Ride buses to access the city centre. Given Cala’s irrevocable right to build the current junction design, any change will need their consent.”

Cllr Biddle asked whether it would be possible to keep Andover Road North open to all traffic, not just to the buses, as well as Winchester Avenue, if an application to vary the plans was submitted. Cllr Tod suggested she contact the county council as it is leading on the design work.

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John Richards, land and planning director at Cala Homes (Thames), said: “The Winchester Movement Strategy is out for consultation until February 11, to which Cala will be submitting representations but it is premature to conclude how the consultation responses will be taken into account as Hampshire develop the strategy further.”

The issue was discussed at the Kings Barton Forum on Tuesday with Cllr Kelsie Learney asking how having buses on an otherwise no-through Andover Road would square with its use as a cycle and pedestrian route.

Andover Road is due to be closed to through traffic on the completion of the 650th house in Kings Barton, due in summer 2025.

A Hampshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the County Council is in discussion with both Cala Homes and Winchester City Council about the design of the junction. No decisions have been made.  We encourage those who have a view on this to respond to the WMS consultation.”

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