Plans for 300 homes on part of the former Rowntree site were described as “excellent” as councillors said the development honoured the social reforming tradition of the famous York family.
The Cocoa West complex in Wigginton Road will be heated by green air-source heat pumps and solar panels, and 36 per cent of the homes will be affordable – well above the typical rate offered by developers.
That works out at 108 affordable homes.
Latimer, the development arm of Clarion Housing Group, will demolish the gatehouse and build 118 apartments and 184 houses, along with a creche.
The affordable housing will be a mix of apartments and family homes.
Councillor Michael Pavlovic said: “It really is heartening to hear of an application that ticks quite so many boxes – it’s not something this committee is used to from developers.”
Councillor Mark Warters said: “If we can’t approve a development like this on brownfield land we’re all wasting our time I think.”
Reflects Rowntree philosophy
The site will link to the nearby Cocoa Works, which Latimer has recently started redevelopment work on.
Councillor Janet Looker said: “It is excellent and what you would expect from a site that has long been associated with the name of Rowntree and therefore is still reflecting some of those Rowntree philosophies.”
Councillors did express a desire for a road to cut through the site to link Haxby Road and Wigginton Road to help ease congestion, but officers said that York’s draft local plan states that the site should not have traffic running through it.
Cocoa West will have two central open spaces, one hard-surfaced and one greener area, and two pocket parks have been introduced into the scheme on the east side of the site at the request of the council.
Committee chair Tony Fisher said: “This looks future-proof to me. If we do get 36 per cent affordable housing it will be a fantastic asset for the people of York.”
Joseph Rowntree acquired the land in 1890, constructing a factory which made cocoa and gum products.
In 1899, a further 31 acres were purchased to expand the fruit growing capacity of the factory. The site, which benefited from its close proximity to the railway, became the consolidated headquarters for Rowntree’s in 1907.