A CONTROVERSIAL scheme for 2,000 homes in Winchester is suffering a series of hitches, writes Michael Carr.

The bumps in the road at Barton Farm include construction being delayed by an ongoing land value dispute between developer Cala Homes and landowner Winchester College.

In another twist, it has been revealed that residents may have to stump up the cash to pay for a water management scheme.

Winchester City Council also failed to answer questions on whether new government legislation on the affordable housing could affect Barton Farm.

The latest Barton Farm committee saw councillor Eileen Berry raise the question of the land dispute between Cala and the college.

Cllr Berry, said: "There are rumours that Winchester College want more money for their land, is that the truth?"

However Cala homes remained tight lipped and said they can't comment on 'commercially sensitive' information.

The meeting also saw councillors raise concerns that residents may have to cough up money to pay for a sustainable drainage strategy known as (SUDS).

SUDS was set up to be managed and maintained by Hampshire County Council, however the government changed legislation on SUDS, which caused Hampshire County Council to pull the plug and Winchester City Council will not manage SUDS either.

A city council report said the costs to residents may not 'significant' as residents can claim a no surface water discount from Southern Water but cited the problem as 'not ideal' and added that it could form disputes in years to come.

Cllr Barry Lipscomb said: “I am very unhappy with the concept of this development having uncertainty on what they will be charged.

“I hope we can solve this before we see houses up for sale, we need to take a more robust attitude and get this sorted out, it can't be put on the residents."

Council officers also refused to answer questions on government policy change, outlined by David Cameron, who promised to sweep away planning rules that require property developers to build affordable homes for rent in a bid to increase the building of homes for first-time buyers.

Corporate director at Winchester City Council Steve Tilbury, said: “There is no proposal to change the level of affordable housing at Barton Farm, but if government has a policy change then it changes and it can have an effect on it, we simply do not know.”

It is hoped that the first homes will be occupied by March 2018.