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Campaigners launch new battle to fight off Andover Road closure in Winchester

CAMPAIGNERS battling to save a major Winchester[1] road have launched a renewed bid following the start of a major 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[2] development. Now founder of Star, Paul Twelftree is urging residents to call on Hampshire County Council[3] (HCC) and Winchester City Council (WCC) to keep the 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. “I have continually lobbied councillors and others quietly behind the scenes and it has started to pay off.”

Mr Twelftree said that he now has the backing of a number of Winchester’s conservative councillors, including Cllr Caroline Horrill, Winchester 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. “Part of this campaign has been to get the Andover Road included in the HCC consultation for their Movement Strategy.”

Mr Twelftree suggested that frequent closures of the A34 or M3, which would route large volumes of traffic, including heavy vehicles through the new estate; pollution levels, noise and vibration for the residents of Barton Farm; and avoiding longer journey times as reason to keep the Andover Road. 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.

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 in the past, Liberal Democrat councillors in Winchester have backed the closure plans, citing getting more people out of cars in the city centre as the main reason. The Barton Farm development will see around 2,000 homes built on farmland on the northern edge of Winchester, with 800 earmarked for some kind of social housing.

Developers CALA Homes were granted planning permission for the scheme back in 2012, with construction of what CALA is calling Kings Barton due to finish in 2025-26.

The first homes were completed earlier this year.

HCC, WCC, Cllr Horrill and Cllr Warwick have all been approached for comment.

References

  1. ^ Winchester (www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk)
  2. ^ Barton Farm (www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk)
  3. ^ Hampshire County Council (www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk)



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