WINCHESTER’S largest development in 40 years is back on track after a year of no progress.

Building work started last year but was hampered by an ongoing dispute between the developer Cala Homes and the landowner Winchester College over the value of the land.

The college was asking a higher price than Cala was willing to pay for the first chunk of land that would provide 223 homes, revealed by the Chronicle last August.

An independent tribunal was called in to settle the issue and agreement has been reached.

City council leader Stephen Godfrey said work on the 2,000-home scheme is set to resume on Monday July 4.

Cllr Godfrey and city council planners are breathing a big sigh of relief as the longer the scheme for 2,000 homes was delayed the greater the chances of developers being able to persuade planning inspectors that their speculative schemes should proceed.

Developers would be able to say that the council is failing to hit its targets. Linden Homes is arguing that over its plans for 350 homes at Pitt Vale.

Cllr Godfrey said: “I have been assured by both parties that the process has been completed. It’s very good news. We were running out of time,” referring to the supply of new houses that would enable the council to rebuff speculative development.

“There was quite a lot of headroom but it was coming down. The room for flexibility in the five-year supply of houses wasn’t being helped by the delays.

“We have more than enough new homes in the next few months without Barton Farm but in nine-12 months that might not have been the case.”

Robin Chute, estates bursar, confirmed a confidential agreement had been reached via a tribunal of experts appointed by both parties.

Mr Chute said the agreement only related to this tranche of land, not other parts of the site.

Nick Twine, managing director of Cala Homes (Thames), said: “An agreement has now been reached between Cala Homes and Winchester College on the purchase of the Kings Barton site. Work will start in early July and we are delighted to now be moving forward with this aspirational new suburb of the city. Kings Barton forms a new northern edge of Winchester with 2,000 homes around a vibrant centre of shops, leisure and community facilities, a new school and public open space. The new site will connect neighbouring communities and create an impressive new gateway to the city.

“Kings Barton is a flagship development for CALA and we are incredibly excited to see our vision take shape.”

Building work was due to start last summer but was initially delayed by a problem with getting Southern Electric to lay power lines for street lights.

The centre of Barton Farm will include shops, a 60-bed care home, a pub or restaurant, a nursery community centre and a new 420-place academy school attend Henry Beaufort School, in Harestock.