WINCHESTER'S largest development in 40 years is facing delays.

Work to build 2,000 homes on Barton Farm is now at least a month away, missing its target of a summer start.

But hold-ups to electrical works, which led to months of traffic problems, will soon be resolved, according to the developer.

Cala Homes had planned to start the first phase of roadworks and housebuilding during the school holidays to minimise disruption to students at Peter Symonds College.

But project director Rob Westwood, expressing frustration at the demands of civic leaders, has admitted construction will start in September at the earliest.

"We're fairly hopeful of making a start next month," he said. "That's our aim at the moment, with planning conditions and the like with the councils.

"You never know with councils - they keep asking for more and more information. It's been a rather frustrating process.

"I'm pretty confident we'll be able to start with roadworks in early September, with construction a couple of weeks after that."

Problems getting Southern Electric to lay power lines for street lights had been resolved, he added. That means traffic cones on Andover Road North, causing a lane closure and congestion for more than six months, will soon be removed.

The Barton Farm Forum heard last month that housebuilding would start before the end of summer. The first phase includes 220 homes on the northern end of the farmland, 90 of them social housing for people on Winchester City Council's waiting list.

The long-touted and often controversial development will redirect traffic coming through north Winchester to a new neighbourhood hub.

The centre of Barton Farm will include shops, a 60-bed care home, a pub or restaurant, a nursery and a community centre. Children are expected to join a new 420-place academy or use new infrastructure links to attend Henry Beaufort School, in Harestock.

Some city councillors feel they have been left in the dark over the scheme's progress.

Cllr Eileen Berry, a member of the Barton Farm Forum and Conservative councillor for the neighbouring St Barnabas ward, said: "With Barton Farm there are a few things that they're ironing out.

"This is just an example of how we're all informed. What do we know about this? Not a lot."

Speaking more widely about the council's development projects, she added: "I get this feeling, like most people ... that something's being put before us as something that's already more or less formalised in officers or the council's minds."

The council's leader, Cllr Stephen Godfrey, believed construction was due by the end of the year.

"We nag them on a regular basis for up to date plans," he said. "I haven't heard any for a while.

"They were hoping to make progress and start formal construction before the end of the year.

"It's not going as fast as we would hope but we haven't been told of any delays. We want to know what's going on and that everyone's moving along to a plan. We need to know what the latest milestones are."

Mr Westwood said Cala regularly meets with council staff but rarely speaks to politicians.