When I won the Sustainable Writer of the Year at the IBP awards last year, the judges cited this.
It’s been more than a decade in the making, but eventually Derwenthorpe will be a great example of an energy-efficient community. Jess McCabe finds out why it’s taken so long to build
It will eventually boast 540 homes, connected by green spaces and trees. But when Inside Housing visited on a soggy winter’s day, only one house was near completion, and we needed to strap on boots and squelch through the deep, sticky, orange mud to get to the front door.There are no streets yet in Derwenthorpe. Right now it’s an expanse of grassy fields – with a muddy building site in one corner. It’s hard to grasp what the area will look by 2016, when the builders pack up and all the people have moved into York’s new, £100 million, energy-efficient, model community.
On the eastern outskirts of York, Derwenthorpe still looks like a battleground, but for the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, it’s a field of victory.
It represents the culmination of a hard slog, spanning 13 years, and a £5 million legal struggle that has seen the project challenged at every turn, right up to the European courts. Derwenthorpe is the prime example of just how challenging it can be to achieve what Inside Housing’s Get on Our Land campaign is calling for: freeing up land to build much-needed homes.
The original idea, first mooted in 1998, was for JRHT to buy the site from York Council and transform it into a model community.