FIELDS in Basingstoke where the construction of more than 3,500 homes should have already begun will instead be temporarily used for farming this spring and summer to “help support UK food production”.

Planning permission was granted for 3,520 homes at the 2,000-acre Manydown site in 2020 and developers Urban & Civic began archaeological digs there in 2021, stating that construction would begin in 2022 with the first homes ready to move into by 2023.

READ MORE: Work begins at 3,520 home housing development Manydown

Now, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, which jointly owns the land with Hampshire County Council, said the land will be used during the spring and summer for farming “to help support UK food production”.

A statement from the Manydown Delivery Vehicle Partnership said: “The development of the Manydown land, with its long planning history, is a large complex project being delivered through a unique joint venture partnership with Hampshire County Council and master developer Urban & Civic.

“All the legal arrangements involved in bringing it forward mean that this is not a quick or simple process. This includes the need to safeguard the long-term viability and financial stability of the scheme in negotiations to secure the land to start the development under a lease agreement made in the 1990s. This is subject to the same commercial sensitivities as any other development and so the details of these discussions are not public.

“With outline planning consent secured, the partnership is working on the detailed planning conditions together with undertaking preparatory work in readiness to start building on site. To actively manage the land over the spring and summer, it is temporarily being farmed to help support UK food production.”

The site was bought by the borough council in 1996 and the £1.2 billion development is set to include a 250-acre country park.

Land has also been reserved for a potential new secondary school, local centres, businesses, shops and community facilities.

SEE ALSO: Borough council comes under fire after revealing extra funding is needed for Manydown

As reported in October 2022, councillors were left angry and confused after it was revealed that the borough council needs to pay extra funding before work can start on the development.

A budget of £1,453 million – 50 per cent of which is shared between BDBC and HCC – was approved.

The development took a step forward earlier this month when Urban & Civic was granted permission for two new construction accesses on Roman Road and Roman Way, by the borough council’s development control committee, despite residents objecting to the proposals.

SEE MORE: Manydown: New construction accesses approved despite objections

The Manydown Delivery Vehicle Partnership said it expects to see the first residents moving into Manydown within two years of infrastructure work starting on site, but gave no indication of when this work might begin.

They added: “We are working through the requirements to get to this starting point. Last week’s planning permission approval for the temporary access junctions by the council’s development control committee was an important step in this process.”