PLANS for a 3,500-home development face severe delays because of stalemate over funding for a crucial highways scheme.

A deadlock between Winchester City Council, developers and the Government risks losing £14million earmarked for major road improvements in Whiteley, the catalyst for the major North Whiteley housing development.

The proposal, which would include three schools, new shops and 50 hectares of green space, submitted by a consortium comprising Taylor Wimpey, Crest Nicholson, Bovis Homes and JGP Lakedale, was approved by Winchester City Council in October 2015.

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) pledged £14m from its growth fund to extend Whiteley Way through to Curdridge and to improve Bluebell Way to provide direct access to the new development from Botley.

Last autumn Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward and Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery met Andrew Jones, the minister for motorways, who promised just over £6m of improvements for junction 9 of M27, another key to the development, but no agreement for this has been signed.

Cllr Woodward said that there was a danger the LEP's £14m funding could be lost if an agreement on motorway funding is not reached.

“This would be a huge shame as it is a real opportunity to complete the infrastructure before the housing,” he said.

The consortium says a deal is expected to be reached very soon. A spokesperson said: “The North Whiteley Consortium has been working with Winchester City Council over many months and is now close to concluding the Section 106 legal agreement which secures funding towards the improvement of highways and the provision of new schools, community facilities and other public benefits.”

“These measures will mitigate the impact of this important new development which will deliver 3,500 much-needed new homes.”

However Highways England say there is no money committed to the junction 9 project at present. A spokesperson said: “We are working with Hampshire County Council to see what funding is available, at this time all of our funding has been committed until 2020 so any other additional would be sourced elsewhere.”