Hundreds of jobs on the line as application for estate is put in

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AROUND 300 jobs are at risk as a planning application has been put in to build a 3,500-home estate on a site that includes an industrial park.

More than 50 businesses, which operate from Bury Farm, in Botley Road, Curbridge, face finding new locations if the estate is approved.

The application has been put into Winchester City Council by the North Whiteley Consortium to build 3,500 homes, two primary schools, a secondary school, two community centres, sports pitches, and more.

Link roads from Whiteley and Botley Road are also included, plus cycleway and footpath networks.

Businesses at Bury Farm said they felt ‘left out of the loop’ as they only found out when signs went up nearby.

Richard Grant, MD of Wessex Demolition & Crushing Services, said: ‘No one made us aware. There are a lot of businesses here and not one of them has been told.’

Mr Grant said that his business had been on the site for 25 years and he employs 48 staff, plus contractors, whose jobs would be at risk if the business was forced to move.

He said that at least 50 businesses operate at the six-acre Bury Farm and that a joint objection has been submitted to the council.

Mr Grant said: ‘On this site they could probably build around 100 homes. They should sacrifice those homes to leave the trading estate here as it been growing over the years and can give the local community much-needed employment.’

Executive member for economy at Hampshire County Council Sean Woodward said that he had instructed officers to look into the issues at the site and to see if there could be an alternative.

He said: ‘I cannot ignore the 300 workers as the planning application incorporates that site. We need to work together to find sites to move the businesses to as it could mean the loss of tens of thousands from the local economy and hundreds of jobs.’

Mike Evans, chairman of Whiteley Town Council, said the planning application had been public knowledge for at least seven years.

He said: ‘It is not up to the consortium, if the landowner said yes to selling the land.’

No decision date has been set by Winchester council.