THE closure of a busy Winchester road as part of a major housing development is set to go ahead as planned, say the city council.

As reported in the Chronicle, Hampshire's transport chief councillor Rob Humby said the county council would be prepared to review the future of Andover Road following the launch of the consultation over the Winchester Movement Strategy.

But at the Barton Farm Forum, it was confirmed that at the moment the closure is set to go ahead as planned.

The planned closure of Andover Road - a major route and and out of the city to the north- was announced as part of the Barton Farm housing development, also known as Kings Barton.

Patrick Davies of the City of Winchester Trust told the meeting there was "confusion in the public mind" as to the road's future.

Corporate director of Winchester City Council Steve Tilbury said CALA Homes - the developer - had no choice but to implement the diversion of the road as it was a planning condition for the development.

He said: "The county council as highways authority always keeps under review the management of the roads. If Hampshire County Council want a different road network it would have to be agreed with CALA Homes. I don't think there is any basis for confusion. If there are different facts that need to be taken into account, Hampshire County Council will look at that."

Cllr Martin Todd added: "It is important to recognise that the Movement Strategy is a strategy not a fully funded plan. Even if the Movement Strategy said we need a different arrangement there is no guarantee there would be money to pay for it."

Mike Toosey of Andover Road said: "Our view is that we do want the diversion to take place because of the way the road junction is being formed. Not everyone is in support of retaining the existing Andover Road."

The scheme by CALA Homes will see around 2,000 homes built on farmland on the northern edge of Winchester, of which 800 have been designated affordable.

The development will also feature community facilities along with a new school and park and ride facility, which will go ahead once 650 dwellings are occupied.

The forum also heard that work is underway to complete phase 1B, which includes 89 affordable homes comprising of 52 low-cost shared ownership and 37 affordable properties, delivered by housing association VIVID.

Mike Shepherd of VIVID said: “ Kings Barton is in an excellent location, just a few miles from the city centre, whilst being near the countryside. We’re pleased to be able to offer affordable housing options to suit a range of family sizes and budgets, and to help more people secure homes in the local area.”

Leader of Winchester City Council and portfolio holder for housing councillor Caroline Horrill said: “I am delighted to see residents move into affordable homes at Kings Barton. It demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our residents have a better choice of housing, a key element of the new Housing Strategy.”

Cllr Kelsie Learney asked how much the project's timetable for completion had slipped, and implementation officer Chris Hughes confirmed the project was a year behind schedule, adding: "we do not intend on slowing down."

In a statement, the city council confirmed Kings Barton is expected to be completed by 2026.