Work begins on homes scheme for famous chocolate works site

Long-awaited building work was getting underway today on one of the region’s major regeneartion schemes a major boost for a Yorkshire city.

There has been intense speculation over the future of the historic Terry’s estate in York after confectionery production came to an end eight years ago in a huge blow to the city’s traditional manufacturing sector.

The site holds a special place in the city’s history and brought to an end chocolate-making in York by Terry’s, which in 1886 established its first factory.

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In December members of York Council backed a planning application to build dozens of new homes in the initial stage of the bid to transform the sprawling 27-acre site.

Today building work was beginning on The Chocolate Works site, boosting the local economy and the leader of York Council, Coun James Alexander, will 
meet with Paul Newman, managing director of York-based 
David Wilson Homes Yorkshire East.

Coun James Alexander, Labour leader of the council, said: “Today marks another major step forward for the Terry’s site and another brownfield site coming forwards for development in York, with the recent announcement of York Central and Castle Piccadilly sites.

“The council is committed to providing new homes and helping businesses thrive and is delighted that this brownfield site is coming forward for much needed 

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“The Chocolate Works is a central platform in that programme we will do everything we can to support the development of this site.

“York is open for business and is the number one city to invest in Yorkshire, which this is a clear demonstration of that.”

The key site in York has laid derelict since 2005.

In December, the council’s planning committee approved an application for phase one of the development which comprises 57 houses, 29 apartments and a retail unit which will be used as a 
sales office while the site is developed.

Mr Newman said: “This is no ordinary housing scheme.

“The site holds a special place in York’s history and we are determined to make a landmark statement which respects the heritage and reflects the architectural legacy of the former Terry’s Chocolate Works.

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“What we are delivering will enhance the neighbourhood and we’re delighted to get started on a development which will help meet the city’s urgent housing need.”

Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, hailed the fact that work had finally got underway as a major step forward for the project.

Coun Merrett added: “I welcome the official start on-site of the housing construction by David Wilson Homes, this is a major step forward.”

New homes are expected to go on sale in the Spring.

It is proposed to build homes and a four-storey apartment block in the first stage of the development. Initial permission has previously been granted to build 270 houses and apartments.

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The former Terry’s chocolate factory also incorporates a number of Grade II listed buildings.

The Yorkshire Post revealed last April that the site had been bought for an undisclosed sum from the previous owners, GHT Developments LLP.

A question mark has remained over the future of the Terry’s factory site since its closed in 2005 with the loss of more than 300 jobs.

GHT Developments LLP bought the site in 2006 and planning permission was given in 2010 after an earlier application was refused two years earlier.

Work began in March last year to prepare it for re-development, but GHT Developments LLP put it back on the market less than three weeks later.