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A BUS company is on a collision course with developers of the £130m Silver Hill scheme in Winchester.

Stagecoach’s local director wants his vehicles to continue using the High Street, Middle Brook Street and St Georges Street.

But developers Henderson and the city council are adamant that removing the buses is a vital part of the project.

They say that if there were no bus routes in the way, people would be encouraged to go from the High Street into the new development of shops, offices and homes, and it will allow the street market to move down to The Broadway.

The current bus station will be replaced by stops along Friarsgate.

Andrew Dyer, managing director of Stagecoach South, said he would seriously consider forcing a public inquiry over the issue.

Mr Dyer said: “We believe the current route is essential to maintain.

“The stops by Marks & Spencer are probably the busiest in Winchester at the retail heart of the city.

“Passengers want to be as close to the heart of the city as they can possibly get.

“We are very much in favour of Silver Hill. We hope for further discussion with all parties to resolve this.”

But Martin Perry, director of development at TH Real Estate, the part of Henderson handling Silver Hill, said he was baffled by Mr Dyer’s stance, as the board of Stagecoach last week signed an agreement that confirms the removal of buses.

Mr Perry said: “The new routing has been agreed at board level. There is no provision for them to formally object to any traffic orders.

“The road closures have already been confirmed as part of the compulsory purchase. The city council is adamant that they are not going to have buses passing through the centre of town any more.

“We do not want the retail areas to be separated.

Putting buses through would be a recipe for disaster.”

Middle Brook Street could be closed to buses with the shift to Friarsgate stops within six months of construction starting, said Mr Perry.

Work is due to start either late this year or early in 2015.

Council leader Keith Wood said of Mr Dyer’s stance: “It would be a great pity if they insisted on doing this.

“It would affect people walking through Winchester and increase pollution. It would be a retrograde step.”

Mr Perry said a recent change to the scheme would see new bus stops on the Broadway serving the east of the city, removing the need for a contraflow on the oneway Friarsgate.