JANUARY 2026 has been announced as the month for the hugely-controversial diversion of Andover Road through the Kings Barton estate.

The estate developer Cala must switch the main road onto Winchester Avenue and close the existing Andover Road to all but cyclists and pedestrians when 650 homes are completed on the 2,000-home development.

The King Barton Forum yesterday (Tuesday), held virtually, heard that currently 562 homes are registered for council tax, an increase of 41 in the last six months.

Ian Curry, Cala technical director, said preparations are ongoing for the complicated processes involved in diverting a main road.

READ MORE HERE: Future of Andover Road closure in doubt

He said: "The date is caveated. We are working with the county council to make sure we have got the ducks in a row. It is a complex process but we are looking to have the road open and Andover Road closed early in 2026, January, caveated with the legal process."

This is later than originally planned, with the Chronicle reporting in 2022 that the diversion had been due in mid-2025. The switch was part of the planning permission given by the Secretary of State in 2012.

City councillor Patrick Cunningham, member for Wonston and Micheldever, asked if the old Andover Road could be kept open for 999 calls. "Why should emergency vehicles go through Winchester Avenue when there is this alternative available?"

Mr Curry said there would be emergency access via Winchester Avenue and that keeping Andover Road open to 999 calls was not "appropriate or viable".

Hampshire Chronicle: The Kings Barton Forum, with Cllr Jane Rutter, top left; Ian Curry, top right; Cllr Mike Cramoysan,

Mike Slinn, chairman of the Kings Barton Residents Association, campaigning to stop the diversion, said he had seen a letter from county council leader Rob Humby saying the road could be kept open for buses.

The Chronicle reported in January 2022 that as part of the Winchester Movement Strategy, it had been suggested that bus access for the proposed northern park and ride on the ‘Andover Road Corridor’, could be maintained alongside the proposed walking and cycling route. But no firm plans for this ever emerged.

Mr Curry denied that the county council was considering keeping the road open, by shaking his head over the virtual meeting.

City councillor Jane Rutter, member for The Worthys, asked about road safety on Winchester Avenue.

"It is not unreasonable to allow residents to look at plans, detailed plans for junctions and the rest of the road. There are a lot of concerns about Winchester Avenue and the way it's designed. There are complaints that there are no proper footpaths and not enough safe cycle routes through Kings Barton."

SEE ALSO: 'Dismay' at diversion of Andover Road through Kings Barton

Mr Curry responded: "We keep saying, it goes through four road safety audits; four, not one, four. I'm not trying to be difficult, my concern is that if you get lots of people making opinions on technical plans, what is the purpose? At the moment it is the highways authority we need to satisfy not Mrs Miggins in number 43, it's the highways authority".

Cllr Rutter said: "I'm not sure what road safety audits look at, but it's not cycling and walking. There are serious concerns about the existing footways in Phase 1a and 1b, serious concerns and we would like to see them addressed."

The Kings Barton Residents Association (KBRA) is contesting the diversion and Mr Slinn said the likely development of the Sir John Moore Barracks once the Army departs made it even more important not to divert the main road through the estate.

Forum chair Cllr Steve Cramoysan said: "I'm impressed by the tenacity of the campaign (by KBRA) to get that changed" but said it was clear from the city council, county council and Secretary of State that the diversion has planning permission and would need a new application to change it.