A CONTROVERSIAL 3,500 home development is a step closer following years of delays.

Civic chiefs from across South Hampshire meet at the North Whiteley Development Forum with developers for the first time in three years to agree outline infrastructure investment plans for the 3,500 home development, near Fareham.

Under the revised plans, planning agents Terence O’Rourke, said a phased approach will be integrated into a 12 to 15-year plan as part of a £78m investment from developers, the North Whiteley Consortium.

The 15-year plan would see the construction of roads infrastructure which would involve extending Whiteley Way through to Curdridge as well as improving Bluebell Way to provide direct access from Botley, partially funded by a £15m grant from the Solent LEP.

Two primary schools, a nursery, and a secondary school will be built, both of which will be open by 2025 along with a small number of shops, allotments, and sports pitches.

Green infrastructure would also be provided consisting of playing fields, open spaces, and protected wildlife corridors.

A spokesperson for the Consortium said: “The North Whiteley Consortium is committed to delivering the new homes at the earliest opportunity and has been working effectively with Winchester City Council to achieve this.

“The consortium wishes to advise that the forecasted programme of works is due to commence in June 2018 for the delivery of 3,500 homes and associated infrastructure in Whiteley.”

Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: “The North of Whiteley Forum has awoken from its three-year slumber. I welcome the investment in providing much needed vital infrastructure for Whiteley.”

“It’s also good news for Winchester City Council because it is one of their most important housing developments.”

“It is wonderful to see roads before houses thanks to a proposed grant of £15m from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership which I support.”

The proposal was submitted by the consortium comprising of housebuilders Taylor Wimpey, Crest Nicholson, Bovis Homes and JGP Lakedale, and was approved by Winchester City Council in October 2015.

However, the development had been subject to delays due to disagreements over how much the consortium should contribute in their legal planning agreement with Winchester City Council which is set to be signed shortly.

A deferred decision over £20m funding to improve Junction 9 of the M27 which was obtained in August 2017 was also to blame.

Cllr Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council, added: “With 3,500 extra homes planned in the north of Whiteley, its vital improvements are made so that people can access the leisure facilities, Solent Business Park and Segensworth Business Park.”

“We’ve worked hard to design a scheme to reduce traffic congestion, improve access of residents and businesses while supporting future development.”

The development will be completed by 2032.