DEVELOPERS behind York’s Derwenthorpe project say they will still receive almost £1 million in public funding for affordable housing, despite missing a deadline for completion of the first phase.

Last autumn, City of York Council was asked to relax planning conditions banning weekend working at the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust’s (JRHT) 540-home project to help ensure the first phase could finish by Christmas.

The proposal was opposed by Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters, who said it would cause unacceptable disruption for local residents.

But planning consultant Jennifer Hubbard, writing to the council on behalf of builders David Wilson Homes, said there was a “considerable imperative” to complete it by then, not only for the builders but also the trust in relation to public funding.

She said all work would be internal and any plant movement would be carried out within permitted operating hours. But after permission was granted, some earthmoving work did take place on a Sunday, for which the builders apologised.

The trust said that as early as last September, it went on record saying construction of phase one was behind schedule and wanted to investigate with David Wilson Homes (DWH) ways of catching up, in order to not disappoint residents ready to move in prior to Christmas.

“We held consultations about this, and received no objection from Derwenthorpe residents,” said a spokesman.

“It is important to point out the ‘pepper potting’ of homes means both DWH and JRHT programmes are inextricably linked – to develop their homes across all tenures together, so we do not create a ‘ghettoed’ community.

“It was not appropriate to finish all the homes by Christmas and we didn’t want to compromise on the quality achieved to date by rushing.

“As an additional safeguard, JRHT asked the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for flexibility in the deadline to build the affordable homes, which they agreed to extend to March 2013.”

He said the phase one affordable homes were now on course to be completed by the end of March - “bringing much needed family homes to York”.

An HCA spokesman confirmed its deadline for phase one was the end of March, and said its investment in phase one would be £978,000 to provide eight homes for shared ownership and 15 for social rent.