Visiting Derwenthorpe housing development
Today I visited Derwenthorpe, the new housing development on the eastern outskirts of York which is being built by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) in partnership with City of York Council.
I met Nigel Ingram, Director of Development and Asset Management at JRHT, to have a tour of the development and visit the show house which opened in April.
The idea of a new model village was first mooted by Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust in 1998. At the time they explained they wanted to create a community in the same way that, back in 1902, Joseph Rowntree created New Earswick. The hope was to replicate the success of Joseph Rowntree’s original garden village and to help meet York’s rising demand for affordable family homes. The homes will be built to high energy efficiency standards and there will be lots of green open space.
In March, 2011 JRHT selected David Wilson Homes to construct the first phase of Derwenthorpe. The homes were originally designed to be built to the old eco-homes “excellent” standard but now they meet tougher levels 4 and 5 of the code for sustainable homes, requiring extra insulation and features like sun pipes which transmit natural light to interior rooms. Biomass boilers will power a communal heating system fed with wood chips from local Yorkshire forests.
Of the 64 homes in phase one of the development, 25 will be offered at affordable rent or share of ownership and 39 will be sold at market value. The association has secured planning permission for 123 homes in Phase 2 and the goal is for the affordable homes in the third and final phase to be completed in 2016.
York is very short of affordable family housing and I am pleased to see these new homes being built in Derwenthorpe. The new village will provide 540 homes for York families at a time when there is a major shortage of affordable housing in the city. The mix of rented homes, part-ownership and homes for sale at varying prices, will create a mixed income community with special assistance available for people with disabilities.
Derwenthorpe houses are all built to a high environmental standard and there will be plenty of green open space for children and adults from Derwenthorpe and neighbouring areas to enjoy.
I hope that existing residents will welcome their new neighbours. The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust has a reputation for building well designed and neighbourly communities. We should all remember that our homes once stood on open fields. If we never built on virgin land none of us would have a place to live.