Derwenthorpe, York

Derwenthorpe is a new Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust development of attractive, affordable, eco-friendly family homes in a digitally inclusive, mixed-tenure community.


Unlike most new housing developments, which are free-standing and generate constant car journeys, Derwenthorpe has been created as an edge-of-town extension to allow residents to link to the existing infrastructure. It is situated in the village of Osbaldwick (YO10) on the outskirts of York. Local amenities in the village include schools, nurseries, doctors’ surgeries, dentists, chemists, vets, supermarkets, a health club, a library and a post office. It is served by excellent transport links into York city centre and beyond.

Community ethos

Over 100 years ago, Joseph Rowntree built York's garden village of New Earswick as a model community from which others might learn lessons in addressing social issues. A century later, the new community of Derwenthorpe was created to emulate this model, providing much needed new housing in the city.

The development explores three themes focusing around creating sustainable communities:

  • environmental performance - practical solutions to deliver zero-carbon homes;
  • environmental behaviours - encouraging and supporting more sustainable lifestyles;
  • digital and social media - addressing the barriers to digital inclusion and using it to support community development.

An over-arching priority remains the creation of a vibrant community with a high level of involvement by its citizens in decisions that affect them all. Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust is actively involved in initiatives to provide: low carbon heat; attractive green and open spaces; and a self-governing community residents can be proud of.

'Green' heating and hot water system

Derwenthorpe was one of the first large-scale low carbon communities in northern England, meeting demanding targets for reduced energy and water usage. Its ‘green’ heating and hot water system is at the heart of the development.

The community uses a district heating system, which means that instead of homes having their own boilers, heating and hot water is efficiently distributed to all homes by the predominantly biomass boilers in the village’s centrally located Energy Centre. The woodchip used in the biomass boilers burns with extremely low pollution effects on the environment (compared to traditional sources like coal and oil) and is sourced locally through both harvesting trees grown specifically for this purpose and recycling forestry thinnings.

The Energy Centre generates hot water, which is distributed to homes through underground pipes and then passes through a Consumer Interface Unit to generate hot water for radiators, washing and bathing.

The temperature in each home is controlled by residents via a digital programmer and upstairs/downstairs thermostats, plus thermostatic radiator valves on individual radiators. Heat and hot water usage in each home is measured by a heat meter, which sends automatic readings which a company called Switch1 uses to generate accurate monthly bills.

We can also install digital energy monitoring equipment in homes to help residents understand when and where energy is being used and help to reduce energy consumption. If you are interested in having energy monitoring equipment installed, please contact us.


Derwenthorpe will eventually offer 489 high-quality environmentally friendly and energy efficient homes which have been expertly designed to be as innovative as they are practical. Careful designs mean this scheme will offer homes to suit the needs of all kinds of buyers, plugging the gaps in the current market with exciting and importantly environmentally conscious 'homes of the future'.

The Lotherington Quarter is located off Temple Avenue and takes its name from Elizabeth Lotherington, the grandmother of well-known businessman and philanthropist Joseph Rowntree. It is a mixed-tenure development of 120 two, three and four bedroom family homes available to rent, part-buy or buy through our shared and full ownership scheme.

The Seebohm Quarter is located off Fifth Avenue and takes its name from Benjamin Seebohm, second of the four sons of Joseph Rowntree. It comprises of a variety of two, three, four and five bedroom flats and houses available to rent, part-buy or buy through our shared and full ownership scheme.

Each home has been designed with eco-friendly features including communal biomass boiler heating and a drainage system that prevents flooding. Some have balconies and en-suite bathrooms.

Community activities and initiatives

As with all our communities, resident involvement is very much encouraged in Derwenthorpe.

The Energy Centre offers a central meeting place for residents, local schools and community groups to use, including The Derwenthorpe Partnership Advisory Committee, which provides resident input into the development of the community.

The Derwenthorpe Community Fund to invest in initiatives that benefit the local community with a particular focus on tackling the actions highlighted by local people. The types of activities that come under the grant include:

  • working with schools and other local agencies and community organisations to provide community activities for all ages;
  • developing opportunities for children and young people to engage in community-based activities;
  • supporting or establishing events and activities that make best use of open space and recreational facilities in and around Derwenthorpe;
  • supporting or developing learning opportunities for adults;
  • supporting or developing social events and activities that promote social cohesion and inclusion.

Community maintenance

Each resident pays an annual charge for estate management, which covers high standards of maintenance of:

  • the Energy Centre;
  • Central square, community and mews court car parking areas;
  • recreational/activity areas and play equipment;
  • benches, bin areas and unadopted lighting areas;
  • on site paths and permitted footpaths;
  • landscapes, hedgerows, shrubs, wildflower meadows and trees;
  • ponds and swales (part of the sustainable urban drainage system).

Find out more

To find out more about living in Derwenthorpe, read our resources for residents, contact us or view our homes.