THE first meeting of the Barton Farm Forum will be held this evening at the Guildhall.

The new body, which is opejn to the public, has been set up by the city council following the granting of outline planning permission last october for 2,000 houses on the farmland.

The forum will oversee the progress of the scheme and give the opportunity for councillors and the public to have a say as Cala Homes works up the scheme before a detailed planning application later this year.

As well as city councillors members will include county councillors and representatives from Headbourne Worthy Parish Council.

Last week the Chronicle reported how more than 100 people had signed a letter calling for the scheme to be revamped. But Cala has said that the position of Andover Road, rerouted through the site, was not up for discussion.

Other issues already decided include the position of the homes, key buildings, local centre, school site, the heat and power plant and green spaces including allotments.

Discussions about the design will start imminently between Cala, the council and local groups such as the City of Winchester Trust.

Work on the designs and the first phase is due to be completed by the end of 2013. Building work is due to start in early 2014 with the first homes completed late in 2014.

A council report said the scheme is due to take 10-15 years to complete. "Given the length of time to complete the development and the possibility of more than one house builder... it will be essential to ensure that the design code delivers a cohesive new community whoever builds out a particular phase or whenever it is built; whilst remaining sufficiently flexible that it is responsive to changing technologies and new opportunities."