Winchester MP, Mark Oaten, is calling for a delay on plans for a housing estate at Barton Farm until the future of two nearby military sites is known.

Cala Home has submitted an application to build up to 2,000 new homes on farmland at the northern edge of the city. But Mr Oaten wants "joined-up thinking" by planners, as Worthy Down army camp and Sir John Moore Barracks could be sold off by the MoD within a few years.

A final decision on the future of Worthy Down Adjutant General's Corps could be made by 2005. Defence chiefs have already identified the land as "likely to be surplus to requirements". If the brownfield site, three miles north of the city, was developed, this would help fill the goverment quota for housing in the region and ease pressure on Barton Farm.

The future of Sir John Moore Barracks, off the Andover Road, is also under review, but a decision is not expected until 2007.

The Lib-Dem MP said: "Common sense suggests we should delay any decision on Barton Farm until the future of both Worthy Down and Sir John Moore Barracks is known. It would be madness to have bulldozers going into green fields if either of those military sites north of Winchester were to become available.

"It is my job as MP to make sure that there is joined-up thinking on planning. I would want to persuade the Government to delay the application, or refuse it at appeal, until the future of those other sites is known."

The announcement of an imminent decision on Worthy Down came in response to a parliamentary question tabled by Mr Oaten. A government spokesman said: "The Defence Training Review identified it as a site likely to be surplus to requirements.

"Our benchmark assumption is that the training currently delivered at Worthy Down would be moved to RAF Halton, but this is subject to the evaluation of the proposals that will be developed with industry."

But Steve Opacic, strategic planner for Winchester City Council, warned it could be some years before Worthy Down became available, whereas development at Barton Farm could be triggered at any time now. "Our experience is sites are marketed within the MoD and government departments before going on the market. It is going to be a pretty long-term process.

"If it was suitable for housing and new homes were developed, then that should reduce the need to release the reserve site at Barton Farm. But that would have to happen quickly to make any difference to this strategic planning process, which goes up to 2011."

Mr Opacic said a city council study had rejected Worthy Down and Sir John Moore Barracks as suitable for a major development area north of the city. "Barton Farm was most suitable in terms of the range of things we looked at." City councillors are due to discuss a progress report on the Barton Farm plans next Wednesday.