Nature group

We’ll be out again at the end of the month, volunteering with the JRHT gardening team and St Nicks. On Wednesday 29th June we’ll be helping Tony tidy up some of the LAPs. On Thursday 30th June we’ll be busy mulching some of our beautiful trees with Adam. And on Friday 1st July we’ll be working with Maria from St Nicks around the estate. As usual the sessions start at 10.30 am, meeting at the energy centre, and they finish by 1.30 pm at the latest. You can pop along at any time – there’ll be a phone number in the window of the energy centre to ring to find out where the group is. You can stay for as long or as little time you can spare, and drop into as many or as few sessions as you want – just half an hour can make a difference. Or just stop by to say hallo! Bring appropriate tools, though JRHT and St Nicks will have spares to lend, and please wear suitable footwear and gloves. For more information on this or about the nature group in general, contact Wendy by emailing


Mobile Youth Club

The police sent us this notice about a mobile youth club (age 10+) at Melrosegate field (Fourth Avenue). It’s provided by Inspire Youth, and funded by City of York Council’s local ward committee.


Lockdown Banner

The Derwenthorpe Lockdown Wall Hanging, was unveiled at the Derwenthorpe Arts Festival. It was created by Derwenthorpe crafters during lockdown. Many hours of work went into the banner, which depicts many aspects of Derwenthorpe during lockdown, through the four seasons of 2020: from Zoom craft group meetings, to Christmas decorations, spring flowers and summer cygnets. More information about the Craft Group can be found on their page:

Derwenthorpe Spring and Summer Banner, depicting Derwenthorpe Houses
Spring and Summer
Autumn and Winter
LotsOn Wine group

Wine group

After a short break, the wine group is being relaunched, refreshed and revamped – thank you to everyone who came forward and shared their ideas and enthusiasm!  It’s being organised in a different way, but it’s still about enjoying and learning about wine in a fun and friendly way.  The first meeting will be on Wednesday 6th July at 7.00 pm.  Everyone is welcome to join.  Get in touch by emailing if you want to come along to the first meeting, or if you just want to find out more about it.

Development JRHT Ponds

Pond maintenance works

JRHT are planning works on the ponds at Derwenthorpe, during 2022. DRA has been asking for some of this work –for example stabilisation of the banks– for a long time, so we’re pleased to see it going forward now.

If you have any questions about the works, please email, and we’ll put the questions to JRHT if we do not know the answers.

The following is JRHT’s description of the works:

Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust logo.

Derwenthorpe pond remediation works

This leaflet has been produced to inform Derwenthorpe residents of upcoming works around and within the two ponds. The works are a combination of maintenance, repairs and upgrades to the existing infrastructure and will be completed gradually over the course of 2022.


The two ponds at Derwenthorpe are a significant part of the drainage scheme for the whole development and this is their primary and most important function. They are designed to take surface water run off via a number of inlets and slow it down before it enters Osbaldwick Beck. There is also an element of filtering by the reed beds as their root networks trap silt and filter out some incidental pollution that is washed off the roads by rainfall.

In slowing down the water they act as flood attenuation for Derwenthorpe and parts of Osbaldwick by preventing rapid rises of the water level in the beck which could then lead to flooding.

The ponds have also become home to a variety of wildlife and were designed to be an attractive part of the overall landscape providing important secondary functions of aesthetic, amenity and natural habitat value.

In 2021 JRHT drafted a scope works in liaison with specialist consultants. The works package picks up a backlog of maintenance tasks and repairs known issues with parts of the infrastructure, such as the nesting islands and decking area at pond one.

What is included in the works package?

The following items are included in the package.

  • Ecological assessments and newt surveys.
  • Surveys of all inlets and outlets.
  • Subsequent clearing of debris from all inlets and outlets.
  • Repairs to inlet and outlet components.
  • Repairs to fencing and railings around inlets and outlets.
  • Installation of new fencing or railings where lacking.
  • Installation of new security grilles where lacking
  • Removal of vegetation from the base of the maintenance slipway.
  • Removal of silt build up to maintain safe working capacity.
  • Reduction in the extent of reed bed encroachment.
  • Replacement of deck area at pond one.
  • Reinstatement of bank areas adjacent to deck.
  • Repairs to adjacent path where slippage is occurring (tarmac and kerbs).
  • Installation of new, higher spec nesting islands.

What will be the impact on residents?

Some of the work listed above may cause disruption to residents in the form of noise from works equipment, contractors’ vehicles, and path/road closures. We will work closely with contractors and residents to mitigate this as much as possible. We will ensure that no work begins before 08:00 and that all work is completed by 17:00 each day. Any road or footpath closures will be kept to a minimum.

Small works areas will be closed off in sequence (i.e. around an inlet) with heras fencing. We expect to close the footpath leading past the deck during works to that area.

The most significant disruption will be during the removal of silt which will require heavy plant and/or large pumps to be working for longer periods.

More information will be available once a contractor has been appointed.

What will be the impact on wildlife?

In order to minimise the impact of the works on wildlife, we have appointed ecologists to carry out an ecological assessment and survey the ponds for great crested newts. The timing of the rest of the works package will depend on the outcome of these surveys and will take into account bird nesting and presence of any protected species such as newts.

Some of the works require the water level in pond one to be reduced by pumping. This will inevitably impact on any wildlife using the pond at the time as it will reduce the surface area and depth of the water significantly. It will also expose areas of bank that are usually submerged which may affect amphibians or invertebrates living in those areas.

The pond will be allowed to refill naturally and therefore, depending on rainfall, the pond may take some time to refill.

The partial removal of some of the reedbed in pond one will reduce this habitat but is necessary to maintain the designed capacity of the pond. By their nature reed beds will gradually encroach across areas of open water, especially relatively shallow areas such as the Derwenthorpe ponds. By trapping silt and sediment, they gradually form new ‘land’ in which to root themselves. This causes the water holding capacity of the area to reduce.

Why are these works necessary?

The works related to maintaining flow and capacity within the drainage scheme are critical to the overall flood prevention strategy of the whole of Derwenthorpe. For example, if a pond inlet became blocked residents would experience localised flooding during rainfall at the various drains leading to that inlet.

Other works such as the replacement of fencing are about maintaining a safe public environment and some, such as the replacement of the nesting islands are about improving the ponds for wildlife.

Once JRHT has completed this work package and we are confident the ponds are in a fit and proper state, future maintenance will be carried out via the Derwenthorpe Estate Charge.

Who is paying for this work?

JRHT is funding this works package from our own funds. The aim is to get the ponds to a state where a maintenance contract can be put in place with a suitable contractor, the costs of which will then be covered by the Derwenthorpe Estate Charge and not JRHT.

Residents Meetings

AGM: Wed 18 May 2022

The Derwenthorpe Residents’ Association’s Annual General Meeting (DRA AGM – see why we do acronyms?) will be back in the Energy Centre, at 7:30pm on Wednesday 18 May.

Full agenda and papers will be available at The agenda, minutes of 2021 AGM, and Core Team report are already available. See the “Next Meeting” link.

The agenda will include the latest updates on Phase 5, and adoption of roads on Stephenson Quarter, then around the flats, and on the rest of the estate.

Note that we’ve moved from Dropbox to, because Dropbox downgraded their free service. The listing of papers will look a little different. I think it’s better, but we’d love to know what you think.


Derwenthorpe Action on Climate Change: Solar Panels Update

Sadly, there’s an energy crisis on top of the climate crisis. Though we’re not, here in Derwenthorpe, individually on gas, buying electricity isn’t immune from generally spiralling energy costs. If we can generate our own electricity, using solar panels, then we’re off that escalator. It costs to install them, but you save money in time. And it all helps in the struggle to reduce carbon emissions and global heating.

In 2020 we did a major exercise on the costs, benefits and practicalities of installing solar panels on our roofs. The result was that we short-listed five firms that we felt were competent and able to deliver installations on roofs on our estate. After a comparison exercise we recommended two firms, ASK Renewables and Carbon Legacy, and encouraged all our neighbours who were interested to get detailed estimates from them. About twenty houses got photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels installed, and there have been more since.

Details of that project are in a previous article on the DRA website:

Last month (April 2022) we wrote to people on our mailing list to get feedback on their experience. Quite a few hadn’t gone ahead last time for money reasons (costs ranging from about £3500 to £7500 for the panels, £1400 to £7650 for the battery). Several of those people are reconsidering, wanting an updated quote. 

All the feedback we’ve had from those who did get them installed has been positive. “It’s been brilliant!”, says one. Another: “ASK were excellent with installation and service”. As a rough guide, solar provided 55% of their electricity. Our own experience is that, before, we “imported” (bought) 2200 to 2450 kWh of electricity in a year. In the last 12 months after installation of panels and a big battery that shrank to 670 kWh.

If you’re thinking now’s the time to get panels installed, do make sure that whoever does the installation is making a safe and satisfactory offer. It doesn’t seem to be a buyer’s market, so you’ll have to find a supplier/installer and work to their schedule. But of course, shop around. Below we’ve listed some firms we’ve been in touch with, and there may be others. Here are some things to bear in mind when dealing with any such firm:

  • Are they registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)? If so, you can be confident that they are technically competent and your installation will be good enough to allow any surplus to be exported to the grid. See MCS website.
  • Are they registered with Renewable Energy Consumer Code? That means the firm has been vetted for fairness in its dealings with you, the customer. See RECC website.
  • Will they visit your home and relate their installation and quote to your actual house, its orientation, size of roof, and your household’s energy needs?
  • How do they work out the performance of their installation? (there’s a Government-recommended method).
  • Will they advise about a complete installation? – including inverter (to change the DC generated on your roof to AC for use in your home) and battery (so you’re able to store what you generate in the day and use it at night) – and discuss options where in your house this kit might go and how the wiring will run.
  • What warranties are they offering for the various items? 
  • What after-care do they offer, in case of any snags? And will you get full documentation about the system and its components?
  • Will they see to any approval necessary to allow you to export surplus power to the grid (and get paid for it!)?
  • Does their quote include any sub-contracting such as scaffolding? And VAT?
  • What payment schedule are they asking for (25% on signing a contract is normal, but check that your deposit is protected).
  • Before signing up, make sure you get JRHT approval – normally not a problem but the installer should give you a drawing/diagram to take to JRHT.

Here are some contact details:

  • Ecocute Limited, Wakefield, 01924 675000 or 0800 246 1221 (there’s a contact form on their website)

For general advice:

One final tip from us, from our experience:

For not very much extra, get netting against pigeons! It’s not that, with our steep roofs, their “deposits” interfere with the efficiency of the panels – the rain washes it all off. But they love to nest under the panels, and that billing and cooing can keep you awake those short summer nights. And they make a mess!

Nick Hall and Jean Lavers

38 Derwent Mews, Stephenson Quarter (come and chat if you’re passing and we’re out front!)


Derwenthorpe Arts Festival Photos

Earth Day Art

Lantern Parade

Art On The Railings

Painted Stones Trail

Photo Competition

The theme for the competition was “My Happy Place”

Stalls On The Green

Origami Workshop


Lockdown Wall Hanging


St Aelreds Players

DAFT (Some of the festival team)


DGG and DPAC meet Wednesday


Derwenthorpe Governing Group (DGG) and Derwenthorpe Partnership Advisory Committee (DPAC) are meeting next Wednesday evening in the Energy Centre on May 4th – Star Wars day! The first meeting starts at 6:30 pm.

Full details, including published papers are available on our web site at

Note that we’re trying out instead of – so the list of papers will look different. Any bookmarks you have at won’t work. If you want to bookmark DRA content, bookmark the relevant page on our web site. Please let me know if you have any trouble accessing the papers.

All residents are welcome to both meetings. DPAC includes City of York council members, and representatives of our near neighbours, so neighbours are welcome, too!


  • Updates on road adoptions, central square, and phase 5.
  • Community grants.


  • Communications
  • Resident involvement
  • Subgroups
    • SSC Liaison
    • Heat Group
    • ABC:D
    • Landscape Strategy
    • Development Liaison Group
  • Electric Vehicle Charging

Full agendas and papers on the web site.


Ukraine Refugee Action

At our last All Residents’ Meeting, we discussed what we can do together for Refugees from Ukraine. Of course, we can individually do the usual things like donating to relevant charities, sponsoring a refugee through the government, and reducing use of fossil fuels to reduce our imports from Russia (and save money, and save our environment). But the question was “what more can we do collectively”?

York City of Sanctuary say that they have plenty of offers of one bedroom accommodation, but not enough for family groups (child, mother, grandmother for example), so “if you have one or two bedrooms to offer, maybe contact neighbours to see if they would also take Ukraine refugees. We might be able to then share the families but keep them close to one another.”

So, if anyone at or near Derwenthorpe would like to talk about these options –especially sharing hosting– please fill out this form, and we’ll see what we can do together.

Note, we won’t share these details with anyone. We’ll just use them to set up a meeting, or a WhatsApp group or similar, depending on the number of responses.