PLANS have been discussed for a bus service to serve the new Kings Barton estate.

Under the Kings Barton Travel Plan, which was approved by both Hampshire County Council (HCC) and developer CALA Homes, a half-hourly service would be provided to the estate’s residents between the occupation of the 250th and 350th dwelling.

However, residents have been left frustrated as the estate has approximately 500 residents, and a bus service has still not been provided.

READ MORE: Plans emerging for the neighbourhood centre of huge new estate at Kings Barton

Plans for a service were discussed at the latest meeting of the Kings Barton Forum on Tuesday, July 11. Council officers said that the future of a dedicated bus service for the estate rests on the outcome of a survey to gauge the interests of residents, covering how they use the services already in use on Andover Road.

County council officer Lisa Cook said that the service had also been delayed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the usage of public transport and park and ride services.

She said: “Winchester itself has really seen the impact from people working from home – look around this virtual room now – we’re all in separate spaces not in one space in Winchester.

“So, the key point really is not whether the county council has got the money – CALA has paid the money due to HCC at this point – the key point to us is when is the best point to start a bus service that will mean we don’t use up the contributions before the site is fully built out and to ensure that the bus service has the best capability of being commercially viable in the future.”

Ms Cook said that the ideal sort of service for the estate would be comparable to the Springvale bus which serves Kings Worthy – offering half-hourly buses Monday to Saturday and an hourly service on Sundays.

SEE ALSO: New bus contract criticised for not prioritising electric vehicles

However, the introduction of such a service depends on the results of the survey, as well as a viable route for the service, with HCC officer Mike Griffin-Thorn saying that it would have to wait until the north and south development sites are linked before a service would be possible.

Meeting chair Cllr Steve Cramoysan said: “It sounds like the only obligation you feel you have there is to use the money wisely and to make sure you have a bus service you match it to the demand to provide a bus service that could be continued going forward once you then hand off.

“I think we have that understanding. I think we may need some communication to help local people in Kings Barton actually understand that that is the reality of the situation."

The next meeting of the Kings Barton Forum will take place on October 12.