THE Barton Farm scheme remains locked in a land value dispute months after the Chronicle revealed negotiations which are delaying the 2,000-home project.

Housebuilding has yet to begin because the landowner, Winchester College, is asking a higher price than developer Cala is willing to pay.

The Chronicle reported in August how independent experts had been brought in to set the price of the first tranche of land. However, no decision has been made and civic chiefs do not know when it will come, a meeting heard last night.

Cllr Vicki Weston, deputy leader of Winchester City Council, said: "The planning consent has been implemented and as soon as Cala Homes and the college have concluded their negotiations Cala will mobilise to begin the first house building phase of the development.

"We do not know precisely when this will be and therefore the site is being secured until a start is made."

It will fuel uncertainty following concerns that delay will affect the council's ability to repel speculative planning applications.

Cllr Weston was responding to a question by Cllr Jane Rutter, who suggested that the wait could impact the number of discounted homes available on Barton Farm.

Cllr Weston said there is "nothing the council has been asked to do or needs to do" to ensure the proposed 800 affordable homes are built.