PLANS for a controversial garden village which has been marred by delays will be brought before civic chiefs early next year.

The 6,000 home Welborne garden village near Fareham will go before the borough council planning committee in early 2018.

It comes as council bosses decided to partner with Buckland Development, the principal developers of the site, who have acquired 96 per cent of the land required for Welborne.

Councillor Sean Woodward, the leader of Fareham Borough Council said: “We are delighted that Buckland now owns over 90 per cent of Welborne so we are able to deal directly with a single promoter.

“The result of the delivery strategy means there is an outline planning application for the whole site.”

Mark Thistylewayte, from Buckland Development, added: “We are very encouraged that Fareham Borough Council is minded to work with Buckland Development Limited as the master developer of Welborne.”

Buckland Development previously owned 56 per cent of the land required for Welborne. As previously reported, the Benge family, who owned the 400-acre Dean Farm estate on 40 per cent of the land designated for Welborne, went to court to protect their estate from being purchased.

However, following a lengthy legal battle, they were ordered to put their land up for sale on the open market by the High Court in March.

It was subsequently snapped up by Buckland Development last month, making it the majority landowners.

But councillor Shaun Cunningham, from the Fareham Liberal Democrat opposition, criticised the council’s strategy. He said: “It’s good that Welborne will finally be brought forward, however the council’s delivery strategy has been pointless.

“Welborne is now part of the housing strategy of Fareham but it doesn’t mean that we will give up our right to shape Welborne into a town that benefits Fareham residents.

“There are too many unanswered questions regarding Welborne at present.”

As well as delivering 6,000 homes, the new garden village will create 5,700 jobs and will feature a new secondary school, three primary schools, recreational and community space and health facilities for more than 20,000 people.

The inclusion of health facilities has proved controversial. Following an ongoing dispute about the provision of healthcare for the development among council officials and health bodies, the Echo reported last month that it will have a health hub after the council and Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group reached an agreement.