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Developing the Derwenthorpe Community

Three Wednesday evenings in October 2017 saw a series of talks and discussions organised by residents. These were supported by a small grant from the DRA community pot. The aims of these were to inform all residents of the vision and planning for Derwenthorpe, and then to discuss how we would like to shape how our community develops.  All were very well attended with between 50 and 60 people at each session.

Steven Burkeman, a trustee of JRHT and Derwenthorpe resident, gave the first talk, giving a detailed and interesting account of JRHT’s vision for the estate and some of the obstacles and difficulties which affected the outcome.  He described how the vision, which began life in 1991, had three priorities – to build a strong mixed community; to build one which was environmentally sustainable; and a model that others would find useful.  He pointed out that much has been achieved such as a lovely space, good quality housing, and a high level of community activity. The text of Steven’s talk can be found here:

The second talk was given by Richard Partington, the architect for Derwenthorpe.  He said how pleased he was to have been involved in the project as few clients are interested in building sustainable, well designed houses.  He spoke about how important design of houses and spaces are in helping build communities, and how JRHT trustees defended the original vision. The general style was European, with taller houses creating more inside space.  He admitted that as the development grew, there were some compromises made because of the overall costs.

The third session was an interactive discussion designed to give residents an opportunity to contribute to how the community might develop.  The 60 people present were divided into small groups to discuss their ideas which were then captured on large sheets of paper.  The evening was very successful with many ideas including activities for children, ways of improving the environment, and fun evenings. Photographs of the posters produced at the meeting can be found in this Dropbox folder, and a report on the meeting can be found here.

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