Cala Homes plans to build 2,000 homes on the edge of Winchester
As the Barton Farm public inquiry gets underway, it brings Winchester's long-running and most controversial housing scheme debate back into the spotlight.
Campaigners fighting to protect the countryside are pitted against a developer insisting homes are sorely needed.
Developer Cala Homes plans to build 2,000 houses on 230 acres of arable farmland north of Winchester.
That has been vocally opposed by a Save Barton Farm protest group.
Cala Homes plans "a highly sustainable, low carbon development" on the 230 acre wedge of arable land - not classed as Greenbelt.
The site is popular with dog-walkers, cyclists and horse-riders, but equally, everyone in the city seems agreed that Winchester is desperately short of affordable housing.
Campaigners insist the development is not the answer to housing needs
CALA Homes has said 800 of the new homes would be "affordable".
Strategic land director Mike Emett said: "There is a huge, urgent and unmet need.
"Brownfield simply don't exist in sufficient quantity - only greenfield sites can deliver the social infrastructure, the affordable houses, schools and medical facilities etc which our comprehensive scheme will deliver."
However the Save Barton Farm group has objected to the plans for the "new suburb", saying the city's roads, schools and services could not cope with development on such a scale.
"We sympathise people who are looking for affordable homes," said chairman Gavin Blackman who insisted brownfield sites should be used before Barton Farm is removed from "reserve status".
"Barton Farm is a short-sighted solution to housing problems.
"Winchester is a national treasure, they [government] need to take a national strategic view to protect all our historic cities," he said.
Mr Emett said the development would have a "huge benefit".
"There are an awful lot of people who are in desperate need of housing," he added.
With the Localism Bill offering local communities more say over housing development decisions, he said the house planning authorities needed to ensure campaign groups "with clear intentions and open objections, don't have more weight in the planning process than they deserve."
Whatever the results of the Barton Farm inquiry, it is unlikely to be the end of the 10-year debate - both sides say they will not give up.