IT has been Hampshire’s longest-running housing battle, stretching back to the 1990s.

Now after nearly 20 years the final hurdle has been cleared and the bulldozers are set to rumble into life.

Barton Farm on the northern edge of Winchester is the biggest development since Badger Farm in the 1980s.

Planning chiefs have approved the finishing touches to plans for the first phase of the 2,000-home development.

At a special meeting in the Guildhall, more than 50 members of the public got a glimpse of how the new homes will look, as Winchester City Council officers recommended that the proposals go through.

The meeting heard details of the “design code” – principles by which the developers, Cala Homes, will decide the look and layout of the first 430 private and affordable homes, as well as the public open spaces to the south and north of the site.

Councillors voted overwhelming in favour of the plans, with a consensus that the documents presented to them by architects John Thompson & Partners were of a high standard.

The approval also includes the transfer of land to Hampshire County Council for construction of a new primary school using cash from Cala.

Robert Westwood, Cala’s project director, said: “We welcome the decision on the first phase of properties at Barton Farm. Our proposals will not only provide much-needed homes but will also generate significant investment in local facilities and services. Our focus is now on delivering a scheme that Winchester can be proud of.” But there was concern from councillors over the distribution of the affordable homes.

Cllr Therese Evans voted to allow the application, but said: “This is a flagship development and the affordable houses are all in groups and I do not think that is acceptable.

“I cannot accept you will get a cohesive and strong community just because you can look out of your window and see other types of housing.”

Cllr Barry Lipscomb, who along with Cllr Raymond Pearce was one of two councillors to vote against the application, said: “I fear that if I vote for this it sends out a message I will vote for it elsewhere in the site.”

Construction is due to start in late 2014, with the first homes expected to be released for sale in the summer of 2015.