First spade in the ground at Cocoa Gardens
Latimer’s £83m York project will see more than 300 homes delivered in the latest phase of the former Rowntree factory site’s redevelopment.
Stakeholders from York City Council and Homes England attended a ceremony to officially mark the start of construction, the principal contractor on which is Lovell.
The scheme is being delivered by Latimer, the development arm of Clarion Housing Group, the UK’s largest housing association.
Homes England is a strategic partner on the scheme having awarded Latimer a £249.7m grant to support developments across the country through its Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26.
Cocoa Gardens is the latest phase at the Rowntree site, which was established in 1890 and supported production of some of the nation’s most loved confectionery brands.
In all, 302 homes will built on the former factory gardens. The project follows Latimer’s transformation of the factory itself, which is being redeveloped to create 279 apartments known as The Cocoa Works.
At Cocoa Gardens, 36% of the homes will be available on an affordable basis, with 56 homes available through shared ownership and 54 through affordable rent. This complements the 84 homes available through shared ownership at The Cocoa Works.
Joy Cullwick, Lady Mayoress of York said: “It’s fantastic to see the famous former Rowntree factory being redeveloped in a way which reflects the heritage and values that have long been associated with the site.
“Joseph Rowntree was ahead of his time on the wellbeing of workers and the wider social value his business contributed to York and this ethos will be carried through by Latimer in the homes they build.
“This development will create a vibrant and inclusive new community and Cocoa Gardens and Cocoa Works will usher in an exciting new chapter for York.”
Cocoa Gardens will offer a range of one to five-bed homes and apartments, with the first homes to be available in summer 2024.
Both schemes at the site will have access to a concierge, located in the refurbished Joseph Rowntree Memorial Library building, co-working spaces, a community shop, an on-site café, and private working booths.
Richard Cook, group development director at Latimer, said: “It’s tremendously exciting to be officially underway with construction at Cocoa Gardens – our next step in regenerating the iconic former Rowntree’s Factory and its grounds.
“Cocoa Gardens will make a huge contribution in creating a vibrant and diverse community at this iconic site, delivering quality, tenure blind homes as part of a sustainable development that will provide much-needed affordable homes for York.”