A CONTROVERSIAL 3,500-home development will commence next year, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Construction of the development at North Whiteley will start in June following talks with councillors and developers.

Martin Miller, technical director for Terence O’Rourke, the scheme’s planning designers, said legal discussions concerning the development, which have lasted two years, were approaching their conclusion.

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

However, the delivery of the development had been delayed over doubts about the lack of funding for road infrastructure until £20m was secured last month from central government, along with £15m from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership. This will improve roads in the Whiteley estate, Rookery Avenue, Parkway and Junction nine of the M27.

Councillor Seán Woodward, leader of neighbouring Fareham Borough Council and a Solent LEP director, said: “The scheme is good news for locals because the £15m grant brings forward the development of vital roads infrastructure several years early.

“It’s also good news for Winchester City Council because it is one of their most important housing developments.”

The whole scheme will take 10 years to complete.