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.

Development Meetings surveys

JRHT: extended drop-in session tomorrow.

At the request of your resident representatives, Chris Simpson and his colleagues from JRHT have been holding weekly drop-in sessions (Tuesday, 1pm – 4.30pm) at the Super Sustainable Centre (SSC) in Derwenthorpe. These sessions will be continuing during August.  

Tomorrow’s drop-in session will be extended to 7pm, and they’ll be sharing feedback from previous sessions, and some of their new plans relating to Central Square, among other things.

You can see the main points, and sign up for future updates, on their website.

We would urge you to attend, in particular to look at the options for upgrading roads on phase one, which could involve much disturbance along Fifth Avenue and Derwent Way in phase three. Or not.

Development Uncategorized

Osbaldwick Village closure.

The following is (roughly) what the City Council (or maybe it was their contractor WSP) said about the nine-week closure of Osbaldwick Village. I’ve clarified with them that it should be possible to access Stevenson Quarter from Osbaldwick Lane throughout the works. And then I’ve edited this text for clarity. Do expect some disruption, but remember you should be able to get in and out of Derwenthorpe via one end of Osbaldwick Village or the other.

“City of York Council will be carrying out maintenance works on Osbaldwick Village commencing on 2nd August 2021 for a period of 9 weeks (weather permitting). The works will be carried out between 9.15am till 5.00pm working Monday to Friday only.

In order to carry out the work safely, the first 3 weeks of the works (2nd – 20th August) are going to be carried out under a full road closure, in two phases: phase 1 will be from the junction with Derwent Way up to the junction with Galligap Lane and phase 2 will be from the junction with Osbaldwick Lane up to the junction with Derwent Way.  

The following 5 weeks (23rd August – 24th September) will be carried out under local traffic management with the use of ‘stop and go’ traffic control boards … to manage lane closures.

The final week (27th September – 1st October) will be carried out under a full road closure for resurfacing.”

As I understand it, the works are necessary to correct drainage problems due to an incorrect camber on the road.

Sadly, WSP’s most up to date map doesn’t include Derwenthorpe. But they say Derwenthorpe residents have been considered in the planning of the closure.
Development Public areas

Derwenthorpe Green Spaces Are Now Named

Derwenthorpe is designed to be low density and as a consequence we are fortunate to have several large green spaces. A collaboration between the Nature Group and JRHT has resulted in names for these spaces; Beck Field, Crescent Park, Holly Ings, Meadlands Green and St Aelreds Meadow.

Consequently our map of the estate has been updated. Click here to download a pdf version of the map, which should print neatly on A4 paper.

Do let us know in the comments below if you spot any wrong or missing details.


Petition update

A big thank you to everyone who signed our petition asking JRHT to stop using central square as a builder’s compound. We had a fantastic response, with 344 signatures from 296 households, in just seven days. All on paper, too.

We also had a good response from JRHT. We delivered it by email on Thursday 6 May, and the following day Chris Simpson – JRHT’s executive director – asked us for a meeting on the Monday to discuss the issues.

We made three main points,

(a) the compound is located in the worst possible place because it’s the most densely populated part of the site, and

(b) without a central compound, works only disturb those adjacent to the works. With a central compound all works disturb people around the compound, who never see an end to it.

(c) if central square weren’t available, some other space would be found appropriate to each set of works, perhaps on an adjacent verge for example.

JRHT promised to review their works program, to try to reduce the use of the compound in three ways: (a) to reduce the size of the compound, (b) to use it for less disturbing purposes, and (c) to use it for less time.

We think it should only be used for works adjacent to the compound: such as levelling the roads outside Barron House and Newman House. The compound should certainly not be used for works outside of Seebohm Quarter, and not where there’s a suitable, more local alternative.

Phase 5 construction.

The good news is that Evans Homes have agreed that they don’t need to use the compound, so it won’t be used to assist with the development of phase 5. We’re very happy about that.

Stephenson quarter roads.

We’re still waiting to hear about these works. The bad news here is that the works on phase 1 are expected to take nine months. And we don’t like the plans, which we have not been consulted on.

We’re particularly unhappy about changes to the road surface, and the proposed removal of granite cobbles and kerbs.

We continue to argue that construction traffic should not be crossing the cycle path, and that materials should be stored adjacent to the works. That will reduce movements of materials and vehicles, and we’ve not heard convincing arguments that there are any benefits for anybody except DWH.

Seebohm quarter roads.

We accept that the using the compound to help fix the roads around the flats makes sense. Any other solution would probably be more disruptive even to residents of Barron House and Newman House.

Off-site works.

We’re against the use of the Central Square compound for off site works. This includes the resurfacing of Fifth Avenue, upgrade of the private part of Fifth Avenue, and works on the junctions at Fifth Avenue/Tang Hall Lane, and Meadlands/Bad Bargain Lane.

We don’t yet know what is proposed for these works, but want to make our position clear. We also don’t know of any other proposed off site works related to Derwenthorpe.

Future works.

We also think that Central Square should not be considered at all for works that are not yet planned, except where those works are immediately adjacent to Central Square.


We accept that there are works required to finish the estate, including phase 5, and that those works will cause some disturbance. However our guiding principles in this are: (a) except where strictly unavoidable, works should not disturb people that will not benefit from those works, and (b) we believe the road construction works are required because DWH failed to get them right first time, so we don’t think that their convenience or costs should be taken as material considerations when selecting locations for storage materials.

We do believe that JRHT are working hard to find better solutions. We know that they want to, and trust that these will be forthcoming.

NB: edited 5 June 2021 to correct Chris Simpson’s title. He’s not CEO, he’s chief executive.

Development DGG DPAC

DPAC/DGG – meeting papers

Derwenthorpe Partnership Advisory Committee and Derwenthorpe Governing Group meet on Wednesday 19th May.

Join Zoom Meeting

DPAC – 18:30 – 19:30

DGG – 19:45 – 20:45

Among other things, we’ll be discussing Central Square, grants, landscaping, and heating charges.

You can find the full agendas, and papers, at

All residents are welcome to attend. You’ll find a Zoom link at on the day. Please switch your camera on, and change your Zoom name as you’d like it to appear in the minutes.



JRHT say the KidsZone play park will be closed all day, Wednesday 12 May, to allow some repairs to be made. This includes a repair to the soft safety surface near the swings.

abc:derwenthorpe CoreTeam Development DGG DPAC

Petition update

Last Thursday, we submitted our petition on Central Square to JRHT. On Friday, they asked us for a meeting, which we held yesterday (Monday), including representatives from the DRA core team, DGG, ABC:D, and DPAC: 

We discussed two things:

1. Central Square. We want them to stop using Central Square as a builders compound. This is perhaps the most densely populated area of the estate. JRHT had discussed some ideas around this and had some helpful proposals. We discussed their ideas and some of our own. JRHT are going to investigate some details of the options that were discussed. We hope to see some firmer proposals in the next couple of weeks and to have some better news – particularly for residents of Barron House and Newman House.

2. An earlier paper that we’d submitted about communications. JRHT were keen to get on with all the things that we’d specifically asked for in that paper, including the resumption of development liaison meetings that had been suspended during lockdown. These are liaison meetings between the DRA core team, JRHT, and the builders – to track issues with the build. In the past, we’ve used them to get things like sagging porches sorted across the estate, and MVHR reinstalled across Stephenson Quarter (phase 1), for example. We’re also looking forward to a more regular JRHT presence on the estate, and to regular JRHT reports in LotsOn.

Some details still need to be discussed, but we’re hoping these things will start this month. 

abc:derwenthorpe Development surveys

Central Square petition

Thank you, to everyone who worked so hard to gather signatures for our petition last week, and to everyone who signed it. We knocked on virtually every door on the estate, and got 344 signatures from 296 different addresses.

We’ve written a paper to JRHT, including views from several residents of Barron House and Newman House. And we were shown one photo so shocking, we had to include that in the report (and above), too.

We’ll be having a meeting with JRHT about this very soon. We’re asking them to think again, and keep construction and logistics on the building site, not in this residential area.

We also want them to put something nice on Central Square, but that can’t happen until we have a plan, so while we know what everyone DOESN’T want there, we also need to know what people DO want! We’ve heard some views.

Someone asked for a swimming pool with water chutes, which seems unlikely. But please, have a think about what you’d like here, and get your ideas in at or in the comments here.

If you’re having a hard time thinking beyond the builders’ yard shown here, maybe share some photos of public spaces that you do like. A favourite park, perhaps.


Low-carbon living?

Low-carbon living by 2050?

A Zoom meeting for residents, with Former Chief Executive of the Derwenthorpe Architect Richard Partington, and Mich Swainson of the Building Research Establishment.

Thursday 27thMay @ 3:00pm

Join Zoom Meeting (doors open 15 minutes early)

Meeting ID: 973 0046 7775
Passcode: 917316

Most residents bought into Derwenthorpe on the understanding that it is an environmentally advanced estate. 

Now that phases 1 to 4 have been completed, it is time to take stock of what has been achieved and identify what we can do for the future. 

This Zoom meeting is the first of a series on environmental matters. We start with two major subjects: our  houses and the provision of heat (Future meetings will cover other key subjects including transport, community, food, etcetera).

In all cases the question is:

‘How could Derwenthorpe be upgraded to deliver low-carbon living by 2050?

The Vision

Lord Best, former chief executive of JRHT, and current president of the Sustainable Energy Association will describe how the vision was conceived and nurtured to become a model estate for the future.

The Architect’s View 

Richard Partington, from Partington Studios, the visionary architect for Derwenthorpe, will explain the vision, the reality and the potential for meeting the requirements of a future world.

The Engineer’s View

Mich Swainson, Principal Engineer of the Building Research Establishment, will explain the government’s policies on heating and conservation and identify practical improvements for the future.

Panel discussion. Exploring opportunities for change