PLANS for more than 3,000 homes have been given outline planning permission.

Homes England, the Government’s housing agency, took over delivery of the 200-acre project – known as the Northern Arc – last year and work on the first phase is expected to begin in 2020/21.

Mid Sussex District Council’s planning committee gave its approval on Thursday, firing the starting pistol on 15 years of building work.

It will include £41 million of infrastructure work on the site north of Burgess Hill, which will be carried out over the next three years.

Work on the first phase of development will begin next year, with the final phase scheduled to start in 2031/32 and residents expected to move in to the last 451 homes by March 2034.

The area was allocated for development in the council’s Local Plan, coming through a Burgess Hill town-wide strategy and formally accepted by an inspector at the public examination of the plans.

In addition, outline permission was given for 460 homes at Freeks Farm this year, in the eastern part of the site. The work will connect the site to Isaacs Lane.

Chairman Robert Salisbury told the committee: “In checks and balances this is the final check as it goes forward.”

As well as the homes, the development will include extra care housing, 13 gypsy and traveller pitches, community, sports and healthcare facilities, a four hectare business park, two primary schools and a secondary school and 82 hectares of green space.

More than 900 of the new homes – 30 per cent – will be classed as affordable.

Because the application was only for outline approval – establishing whether the scale and nature of the development was acceptable – there was no detail about the homes.

Homes England will now work with developers to prepare and submit detailed  applications to the council following further public consultation.

The agency is also looking for a contractor to build a bridge, link road and roundabouts in the west of the site. If planning permission is granted, this work will start in the summer of 2020.

The application included requests for financial contributions – known as S106 money – to help pay for the services and infrastructure the new occupants would need.

The Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group asked for £1.8 million to help pay for either a new healthcare facility in the Northern Arc or to extend/improve The Meadows and Park View surgeries.

The Mid Sussex leisure team asked for 9.86 hectares of land to be transferred to the council for sport use and for a £3.7 million contribution towards developing the Centre for Community Sport and improvements at the Triangle leisure centre.

Sussex Police asked for £492,000 to help to pay for future policing of the new development.

Ken Glendinning, of Homes England, said: “This flagship scheme will provide a mix of affordable and market priced homes to buy and rent alongside schools, new community, leisure, health facilities and employment opportunities in Burgess Hill.”