THE Cocoa Works housing scheme at York’s former Nestle Factory in Haxby Road has taken a major step forward with a ground breaking ceremony.

The £80 million scheme promises 279 apartments, 84 of which will be available for shared ownership, when the scheme is completed by the end of 2023. Plans include seven studios, 111 one-bedroom apartments, 146 two-bedroom apartments and 15 three-bedroom apartments.

Developer, Latimer, has appointed Yorkshire firm Henry Boot Construction to refurbish the historic site- a £47 million contract- which was home to the factory from 1890 and had over 6,000 employees by the 1920s.

Last Monday’s ceremony included the Lord Mayor of York, Chris Cullwick, the Sheriff of York, Cllr Ashley Mason JP, and Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Communities at York City Council.

Latimer’s plans for the 8ha site, which has been derelict for more than a decade, will ensure original features of the building are celebrated and incorporated into designs. The old Joseph Rowntree Memorial Library will also be refurbished featuring a community space offering private working space and a concierge service.

Cllr Craghill said: “This development highlights our commitment to working with housing associations and developers to bring much-needed affordable housing to the city, with the inclusion of shared ownership homes providing new ways for local people to get on the property ladder.”

Tony Shaw, Managing Director of Henry Boot, said: “Henry Boot is committed to sensitive restoration and we are looking forward to delivering a new, exciting future for this striking building, which is integral to York’s social history.”