THE CONTROVERSIAL Barton Farm housing scheme is set to give Winchester a huge jobs boost and a cash windfall for the city council, according to the development boss.
Mike Emett, director of Cala Homes, says the plan, given outline permission by the Government on Tuesday, will create some 8,000 jobs.
And the 2,000 homes will net Winchester City Council some £20 million in a ‘new homes bonus.’ Mr Emett was speaking to the Daily Echo the day after Secretary of State Eric Pickles gave thel go-ahead for the scheme which first surfaced in the mid-1990s.
He said the House Builders’ Federation estimate that four jobs are created for every house built, from the initial groundwork to jobs provided when the scheme is completed.
Cala plans to build a primary school, food store, community building, health centre, 60-bedroom nursing home, a district energy centre, park and ride for up to 200 cars and allotments.
Mr Emett said the infrastructure such as schools and health centre would be among the first things to be built.
First Cala must get detailed planning permission but that is now likely to be a formality.
Mr Emett said the detailed application was unlikely this year but he hoped for full planning permission by mid-2013, builders on site later next year and the first homes completed in 2014.
“There will be plenty of jobs for local people. We have already had enquiries from them. This will create a huge number of jobs, directly on the actual building and in the supply chain and then when it is completed in the services such as the school and health centre.
“We seek local sub-contractors and all our construction staff are sub-contractors. This will not be a 12-month build; we expect it will last 12 years,” he said.
Mr Emett disputed that Barton Farm would put a burden on local infrastructure. “We are largely self-supporting; the infrastructure will be provided on site and paid for by us, so we do not put a burden on local facilities.
“The city council will receive a ‘new homes bonus’ from the Government which it will be able to invest in community facilities across the city, actually improving the infrastructure.”
On traffic Mr Emett said the 2,000 homes would reduce the congestion because fewer people would need to drive into Winchester from Eastleigh and Southampton. Although the Pickles decision is a blow, the anti-development Save Barton Farm Group has not given up their fight and are considering legal action.
Mr Emett, whose first involvement with Barton Farm was when he worked on the purchase of the freehold from Winchester College in 1998, declined to be drawn on commenting on the campaigners’ determination.
Meanwhile on the ‘new homes bonus’ a city council spokesman said the amount would be “significant”
but could not say at this stage if the £20m figure was correct.
The money for each house is paid as an annual grant over six years. On other schemes the council has been receiving the bonus and using it to reduce the council tax bill.