CAMPAIGNERS battling to save a major Winchester road have launched a renewed bid following the start of a transport consultation.

Save the Andover Road (Star) has been lobbying councillors keep the major route which takes traffic into, and out, of Winchester city centre to the north, following plans to close it as part of the Barton Farm development.

Now founder of Star, Paul Twelftree is urging residents to call on Hampshire County Council (HCC) and Winchester City Council (WCC) to keep the current through road open after consultations opened over the Winchester Movement Strategy.

In an email seen by the Hampshire Chronicle, Mr Twelftree said: “When I started this campaign over three years ago nobody in in authority was interested in changing the plan to close the Andover Road and route it through Barton Farm. How attitudes have changed.”

Mr Twelftree said that he now has the backing of a number of Winchester’s Conservative councillors, including Caroline Horrill, city council leader, and county councillor Jan Warwick.

He added: “I have made the case to the HCC’s cabinet member for transport that the road should be kept open. The problem, as ever, is that the planning consent for Barton Farm includes closing the road.

“HCC need a solid case for re-examining this provision. I think that with the expansion of Worthy Down, the re-development of Sir John Moore Barracks and two new park and ride car parks planned for north Winchester, the traffic situation has changed enough for them to reconsider their position.”

The call comes after HCC and WCC this week opened consultations over the Winchester Movement Strategy, which aims to shape the flow of pedestrians and traffic around the city centre. The consultation is open for comments until December 8.

Cllr Jan Warwick said: “I know Paul has been a strong supporter of keeping the Andover Road open, as have many other local councillors and residents. However closing this road is a planning condition.

“What I am really keen on promoting is the opportunity we now all have to comment on this and many other the other movement issues for the central Winchester area with the joint WCC and HCC Movement Strategy Consultation.”

In 2015, the campaign to keep the route open saw more than 120 people rally to send a message to Hampshire transport chiefs, along with a 350-strong petition, which included local taxi firm Wessex Cars among its ranks.

However, Liberal Democrat city councillor Anne Weir said: “The diversion of the road is a fact which a Conservative secretary of state forced upon us. As Liberal Democrats we are working to ensure Barton Farm is the best it can possibly be.

“My immediate priority is to make sure children and students going to school from Barton Farm/Kings Barton can do so safely.

“Political grandstanding by local Conservatives is wasting everyone’s time while ignoring problems with the development we can actually sort out.”

The Barton Farm development will see around 2,000 homes built on farmland on the northern edge of Winchester by 2025-26, with 800 earmarked for social housing.

A spokesman for Winchester City Council said: "We are aware of this support for keeping the Andover Road open and are really keen that the comments on this matter is brought into the mix with other ideas as our two councils look at these issues via the Movement Strategy consultation for the city.

“Closing this road is a planning condition for the Kings Barton development so we do have to bear in mind that any changes would require a revised planning application from Hampshire County Council (the Highways authority in this case) and the agreement of the developer.”