Planners approve second phase of £100m model village in face of opposition

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PLANNING permission has been granted for more than 120 new family homes in York, after councillors approved the second phase of a £100m housing scheme which has been beset by a series of high-profile setbacks.

The York-based Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust says it can now press ahead with the second stage of the Derwenthorpe scheme, where a 540-home model village, which has been designed to be environmentally-friendly and energy efficient, is planned for a site to the east of the city, offering homes across a wide range of tenures and incomes.

The first phase of the work, to build 64 homes, started last year.

Nigel Ingram, director of development and asset management at JRHT, said: “We are delighted that councillors have given their backing to phase two, which will help deliver much-needed family homes in York.

“There is a chronic shortage in supply of family homes in the city and we are pleased that, despite numerous delays, we can start to meet that need. We look forward to dozens of families benefiting from the sustainable lifestyle that Derwenthorpe has to offer.”

On the tendering process to build the homes, Mr Ingram added: “We will advertise the procurement process imminently and that could happen as soon as next week.”

The controversial scheme, which has been in the pipeline for more than a decade, has involved a number of planning and legal challenges by residents opposed to the loss of green-belt land and concerned about additional traffic on local roads.

One challenge even ended up in the European Parliament, after allegations from protesters that planning laws had been broken by those pushing the proposed development.

The housing trust says interest in the homes built in phase one, which cost around £11m, is increasing – 17 have already sold outright, and half of the shared ownership homes are ‘under offer’.

York was named as the UK’s second-fastest growing city after Milton Keynes last year and its population has now broken the 200,000 mark. The city’s population has increased by nine per cent since 2001, with a more pronounced growth in people aged from 20 to 35 compared to the rest of North Yorkshire.

A study has identified an annual need for 790 extra affordable homes over the next five years.