An unprecedented increase in the number of jobs in Huntingdonshire took a step closer to reality when the district council approved the first of a series of planning applications for Alconbury Weald.

Up to 5,000 homes are planned and 8,000 jobs will be created on the former Alconbury Airfield, north west of Huntingdon.

On Monday, Huntingdonshire District Council's Development Management Panel agreed the proposals could go ahead, in ­principle. Detailed plans for the site are yet to be submitted and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles will have to sign off the proposals.

From mid-2014, a range of opportunities for jobs and businesses are expected to come forward in areas such as demolition and creating infrastructure such as laying roads, broadband and utilities. With almost half a million trees to plant, there will also be landscaping work.

Urban&Civic, the owner and developer of Alconbury Weald, hopes to start building homes and businesses next year and from 2015 onwards anticipates about 1,000 construction-linked jobs a year on the site.

It has been working with the JobCentre and colleges to make sure local people have the necessary skills and qualifications to be taken on by firms winning contracts.

Robin Butler, Urban&Civic managing director, welcomed HDC's development panel's recommendation supporting Alconbury Weald.

He said: “Support from the district and county council for the Enterprise Zone has enabled us to make significant early investment in new entrances and the Incubator building.

“The recommendation means we will now move forward with the timing and phasing of housing, schools, transport infrastructure, green space and community buildings for the site as a whole.”

To see job opportunities and to register an interest in contracts, visit www.alconbury-weald.co.uk

Meanwhile, a qualification vital for anyone wanting to work in the building industry willl be offered by Huntingdonshire Regional College at Alconbury Weald. HRC was given the go ahead to run a Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) at its Alconbury Training Centre.

For more, contact Tracy Foster on tracy-foster@huntingdon.ac.uk.