Making a Splash in Yorkshire

March 20th, 2017 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Simon Gawthorpe


I was delighted to read the Yorkshire Post’s verdict on our modular family housing concept, House and the possibility of us taking the concept to cities in the region.

The article came from an interview I gave with the newspaper, in which they referred to Urban Splash as “a small company with a big reputation for converting derelict and unloved buildings into the coolest places to live and work”.


It’s something we’ve definitely done in Yorkshire where we’ve got developments like Park Hill in Sheffield, Lister Mills in Bradford - where we’ve just launched 15 brand new rental homes - and Saxton in Leeds.


Bringing House into Yorkshire is definitely a possibility. The idea is we’ll work across the UK with local authorities and build on brownfield land to make it happen.

Read the full Yorkshire Post article here.

Filed under: Bradford, Leeds, Lister Mills, Park Hill, Saxton, Sheffield, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

Stairway to Devon

We’ve collected over 365 awards in 21 years of Urban Splash, includingr 15 new awards in 2014.

Our Stairway to Devon at Royal William Yard connecting the South West Coast Path was a favourite in ‘14. We saw it commended in The Civic Trust Awards, collect AJ’s Small Projects Sustainability Prize and the Judges’ Special Award at the Abercrombie Awards - celebrating the scheme that has contributed most to the city since the awards began. The staircase was also recognised as Best Smaller Development Project. As a RIBA South West Award winner, it was also shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize.

Saxton in Leeds was also voted the country’s ‘Most Innovative Redevelopment’ by readers of First Time Buyer Magazine.

With four awards from the RIBA, we’ve now received more than 50 accolades from the architectural body. This Pinterest board is a collection of them…


We celebrated a new working partnership at Park Hill.

Working on a joint venture basis with Places for People, we started work on the next phase at Park Hill, creating 182 new homes in the second phase of the scheme.

Work is moving along nicely and we plan to launch the next phase of new homes for sale early this year.

Our favourite brutalist building was also featured in Dezeen as a celebration of classic brutalist architecture from around the world.

Spring saw another new Pear-ing with a great partner. We were delighted to announce another new joint venture relationship with The Pears Group. Included in the deal were a number of buildings from our commercial portfolio.


We’re proud of our people, and proud that they want to stay with us. We had a great few sunny days in summer hosting our “lifers” trip at Maison Bulle in the south of France. This trip marked over 10 years of hard work at Urban Splash for a number of colleagues who have supported us across a host of different roles.

By working together as a team over the last 21 years, we have been able to create something quite special! More later on new opportunities to become part of our team…


Co-founder of Urban Splash Jonathan Falkingham MBE was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University. Receiving the honour for his contribution to entrepreneurship and regeneration in Merseyside - including great schemes like Concert Square, Ropewalks and the Matchworks in Liverpool.


We were honoured to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales to Royal William Yard in July to celebrate 10 years of Urban Splash’s involvement in the scheme. HRH was impressed at the transformation, saying it had been “fascinating to see it come back into use and to see so many people enjoying it.”


A wealth of deals came to fruition in 2014. We reached a grand total of 156,000 sq ft of regional deals for the North West commercial portfolio alone. We announced Liverpool’s largest letting of the year with 65,000 sq ft of space at Matchworks going to Amey, as part of an amazing 140,000 sq ft of deals completed by us in the city.


We said goodbye to one our favourite schemes, selling Fold Dunlop to Tristan Episo Fund. Having transformed the redundant tyre factory in Birmingham and kept it at more than 97% let, the development is one of our greatest successes.

October saw the start of a new year for US. Having released our accounts, announcing our turnover has passed £100 million for the first time ever and that we’ve returned to profit and have now restructured all our historic debt.


Our partnership with Places for People goes from strength to strength as another exciting new masterplan is underway. Former shipyard Smith’s Dock is to be given a new lease of life, as planning permission is granted on the first phase of new homes. The Riverside regeneration project in North Shields will bring over 800 new homes to the area when completed.


In New Islington news, we’ve recently appointed architects sixtwo to transform Stubbs Mill. We’ll be announcing our plans for 30,000 sq ft of flexible commercial space this year… it’s going to make the most amazing workspace in Manchester!


We saw the year out with the early bird launch of hoUSe! A new build terraced family house in the city; and because its our hoUSe, we’ve made it extra special! I’m as excited about this project as I was about the first one 20 years ago when we decided to built loft apartments in the city centre.

New Islington became home to our new family housing concept hoUSe. You can design your own home overlooking the Marina, with loads of space, high ceilings, big windows and between 1,000 - 1,500 sq ft of space.

Here’s a short animation explaining our hoUSe concept, and my blog about this big idea.

So what does 2015 have in store for us?

hoUSe finds its next home with views aplenty as our first 34 new homes are set to arrive in Smith’s Dock, North Shields this year.

A ‘Hub of Creative Excellence’ at Royal William Yard. Applications are still open for the new artists studios at Ocean Studios in Factory Cooperage. When it’s finished later this year, it will offer space for 100 artists, a gallery and workshop facilities.

We’re recruiting - would you like to join US or know someone else who might?

We’re on the look out for the people to fill a number of new roles, in sales and lettings, residential management, development and more. If you’d like to join our team, take a look at the latest vacancies on our website and learn more on what its like to work for us

Over the last 21 years Urban Splash has developed 60 schemes worth in excess of £1 billion, helped create 1000’s of homes, jobs, and transformed over 5 million sq ft of commercial space. We have created one of the few property brands to have survived the last recession, forming fantastic joint ventures and building up an 800-unit PRS portfolio, with a pipeline of a further 2,000 units.

I’m often asked which has been my favourite redevelopment scheme, and I always say “the next one”.

Here’s hoping for a good year!

Filed under: Concert Square, Fort Dunlop, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Matchworks, Park Hill, Royal William Yard, Saxton, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

The Property Cycle

June 3rd, 2014 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Simon Gawthorpe


Last week, myself and three other Urban Splash colleagues (Nathan CornishJonathan Falkingham and Ian Bull), committed to cycling an 82 mile course as part of the ‘Yorkshire Pedalthon’.

Aside from the inevitable ’saddle sores’ it was a great day and we were fortunate enough to ride part of the Tour de France Yorkshire route - the one the pros are going to be taking on in July.

The event was arranged by property consultancy Carter Jonas in aid of both the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Sustrans - a charity enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport - so was all for a good cause. I look forward to sharing more information about the money raised (and the ongoing pains we’ve all endured!) in due course.

Filed under: Leeds, Park Hill, Saxton, Sheffield, Urban Splash No comments

2012: A round up of the year

December 19th, 2012 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE

Another year of hard work has come to an end… Here’s a run through of some of the things we’ve been upto this year!


Lakeshore, our first Bristol scheme, is now home to residents. The Grade II listed Cor-Ten structure has been refurbished into design-led apartment available to buy and rent. With strong sustainable credentials, the scheme recently won a What House? Award for Sustainable Development.


Human, an exciting Sheffield-based creative agency, has become the first commercial tenants to sign up for space at Park Hill. They’ll open their new office there in the new year.


This year Royal William Yard came into its own; River Cottage, the Royal William Bakery, Seco Lounge and Le Vignoble are already open, with Las Iguanas, Wagamama, Bistrot Pierre and more signed up ready to open next year. With the monthly Good Food Market - another new addition for 2012 - the Yard has become Plymouth’s newest gourmet hotspot.


Winner of this year’s best conversion Northern Design Award, Saxton is a real success story and now home to hundreds of people who benefit from the location near Leeds city centre life, as well as the onsite allotment and gym!


We’re pretty proud of our trophy cabinet which was bolstered this year with 16 more awards!


It’s been a great year for new joint venture schemes including; Springfield Lane in Salford, Bewsey Old Hall in Warrington and Anston House in Brighton, watch this space for more details!


With the first tenants moving into Pattern House, we have now completed our Stalybridge scheme. With 100 apartments, Longlands also offers exciting commercial space right in the heart of Stalybridge, just a few minutes on the train from central Manchester.


The British Council of Offices Award judges decided that no one could ‘tame the Birmingham Beast‘, praising our transformation of a neglected monolith into a thriving commercial hub. They gave a special mention to our ability to emphasise the building’s industrial past.


Our flexible approach as a landlord, with short form leases, monthly licenses and a great rapport with tenants, has helped us grow the commercial portfolio even more this year; with 90% of our 2 million sq ft of office, retail, leisure and light industrial space now let.


Yep, among our 16 awards in 2012 were FOUR coveted Sunday Times British Homes Awards including a commendation for the Best Developer Award! Three other awards went to Lakeshore, Saxton and Park Hill.


We’ve transferred the success of the commercial portfolio to the residential side of the business too. 95% of homes are let and this year we grew it to more than 700 homes.


One of the most notable successes of the commercial portfolio is Fort Dunlop which is now 96% let and home to a great mix of tenants including Trinity Mirror and Elmfield.

Here’s looking forward to another great year!

Filed under: Affordable homes, Birmingham, Bristol, Chips, Fort Dunlop, Lakeshore, Leeds, Longlands, Manchester, Mills Bakery, New Islington, Park Hill, Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Saxton, Sheffield, Stalybridge, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash No comments

From plot to plate at Saxton, Leeds

August 16th, 2012 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Rachel Maren

Saxton's Allotment Pop Up Restaurant

With all the excitement of the Olympics you might have missed the news that last week was National Allotment Week – running from 6th – 12th August it is a week of celebrations throughout the UK to highlight the allotment movement and raise the awareness of growing your own food.

What you also might not know is that here at Urban Splash we have not one but two sets of allotments – at our development Saxton in Leeds and also at Lakeshore in Bristol, with 193 plots between them we are for the first time offering our residents
a chance to “Grow their Own”.

So to celebrate allotment week and the hard work of our allotment holding residents we turned our allotments at Saxton into
a Zero Food Miles pop up restaurant.

The tables were set, the sun was shining and our friends from Sam’s Chop House came down to use the alfresco kitchen we had provided. Over two sittings Lunch and Dinner (or dinner and tea as we call them here in Yorkshire) 20 of our residents were treated to a plate of finest Yorkshire fayre cooked in front of them using produce picked from within feet of them!

Saxton's Allotment Pop Up Restaurant

If you fancy trying the meal for yourself here’s the recipe:

Sam’s Chop House Roasted Rump of Lamb
Roasted rump of lamb served with crushed new potatoes, orange glazed carrots, mint & redcurrant sauce

Serves 2

2 x 7-8oz lamb rumps, trimmed
20g fresh thyme & rosemary
150g new potatoes
20g chives
150g Chantenay carrots
100g butter
200ml fresh orange juice
200ml gravy
1tbsp red currant jelly
20g fresh mint

Season the lamb rumps with salt & pepper, and seal on all sides in a hot pan. Roughly chop the thyme & rosemary, add to the pan with the lamb rumps & roast in a 200ºC oven for 9-10 minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before carving

Boil the new potatoes in salted water until just cooked, then mix with 25g of butter & chopped herbs & crush with a fork. Season well with salt & pepper. Put the carrots in a pan with the remaining butter & orange juice, cover with a piece of greaseproof paper & cook over a high heat until all the liquid has been absorbed & the carrots are soft & glazed.


Mix the redcurrant jelly & chopped mint with the gravy & heat gently.

To serve

Press the crushed potatoes into a ring, carve the lamb rump & serve with the carrots & sauce.

Rob Higgins, head chef at Sam’s Chop House said: ”Having allotments for residents is a great idea and something I’ve not seen before. As a chef and somebody who is passionate about organic produce, this would definitely appeal to me if I was looking to buy a place in the city centre. Cooking with food grown at home gives you a sense of pride and it’s often more flavoursome.”

If you live at Saxton or Lakeshore and are interested in taking an allotment contact Rachel Maren at Still not sure? Check out Facebook for more pictures of the event and pictures of what our residents have been growing.

Filed under: Lakeshore, Leeds, Saxton, Urban Splash No comments

Awards aplenty!

July 5th, 2012 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE

Industry awards are always a privilege to receive and I’m particularly happy this month as we have added four more awards to our collection – taking our total to 316!

Last month our scheme in Leeds, Saxton, won a brace of awards in one night. As well as a winner of RIBA Regional Sustainability Award 2012, Saxton also picked up a Housing Design Award for completed scheme.

This video, created to celebrate Saxton’s success by the Housing Design Awards, really highlights what’s really special about the place. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Last week Park Hill, Sheffield, and Lakeshore, Bristol, won gold and bronze awards at the Green Apple Award 2012 for Built Environment and Architectural Heritage.

All these awards are extremely prestigious, and we are as pleased as punch about each and every one. It’s a testament to the dedication of everyone who worked to make these schemes happen, and the enthusiasm of the people of Leeds, Sheffield and Bristol for the projects. Thank you!

Filed under: Bristol, Lakeshore, Leeds, Park Hill, Saxton, Sheffield, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash No comments

Fed and Watered

August 31st, 2011 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Rachel Maren


Last week on an unusually sunny Thursday evening in Leeds we held what I’m sure many of those who attended will agree was our most successful residents event to date at Saxton, a summer BBQ. The evening was really well attended with over 150 Saxton residents and local residents from Saxton Gardens enjoying burgers, sausages and a tipple or two!

This years event however wasn’t just about getting everyone together for a chin wag, after feeding and watering all our guests we took the opportunity to introduce our allotment scheme and take the interested parties for a look round. We have 97 raised beds at Saxton which will be available to our residents, the local residents from Saxton Gardens and our neighbouring school Mount St Marys. Each plots measure 2475mm x 1425mm and we have 12 communal sheds with shared tools to be used by the residents along with 6 compost bins and 2 water troughs which are fed by the rainwater harvested from the roof of Parade building.


To try and give our guests ideas about how they could use their patch to grow their own I spent some time last week planting up 9 show plots. I think its fair to say that my fingers are more mint green than evergreen, and the nearest I’ve come to growing my own before is some self sufficient mint in a pot by my front door, so when a large delivery of plants arrived (courtesy of I was some what daunted, but I rolled up my sleeves and peeled the price tag of my shiny new trowel and well got stuck in. We’ve got quite a colourful array of plants from some different families: brassicas (Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Red & Green Cabbage – think anything you left on your plate as a child), Rainbow Chard, Spinach and Leeks. For those less adventurous gardeners/or first timers we’ve planted a herb garden with Rosemary, Mint, Chives, Parsley and Sage. If you want a slightly more exotic flavour to your menu we’ve got some Jalapeño peppers and I’m personally looking forward to sampling our Rhubarb next year hopefully in a crumble!

We’ve had lots of residents express their interest and we are hoping to get them signed up and digging for victory soon – so watch this space – fingers crossed you’ll soon be reading about giant marrows and who has won best in show!

If you want to get your green fingers on one of our allotments at Saxton in Leeds then register your interest here. They are available to any resident who buys or rents at Saxton

Filed under: Leeds, Saxton, Urban Splash No comments

‘Eco-Chic’ at Saxton

July 15th, 2011 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Leanne Wookey


The NoChintz team has recently finished two show apartments for Saxton, Leeds. The one and two-bed apartments have each been designed with their own distinct individuality and style.

The two-bedroom apartment has an ‘Eco Chic’ theme with muted tones and flashes of accent colour to give a modern, yet classic feel. The one bedroom apartment is aimed at a younger audience, using the ‘funky and affordable’ theme influenced by the Fluoro trend which can be seen through the use of bold, statement colours. Our aim was to provide a contemporary yet homely space. Both apartment spaces have been created with a light and airy feel, which we think makes for the perfect city living space.

At NoChintz we were really keen to be involved in Saxton as the apartments have been given a dramatic makeover giving them a new lease of life. The apartments are unlike anything previously available in Leeds combining city living with the remarkable outdoor spaces with gardens and allotments.

Filed under: Leeds, Saxton, Urban Splash No comments

Is there room for rent?

August 17th, 2010 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Richard Oakes


A new report was published yesterday by the Chartered Institute of Housing, claiming that the ‘golden age’ of home ownership is over and that we now need to focus more on rental options in the UK.

Whenever the issue of renting comes up, its always interesting to look at our friends in Europe and the sociological perceptions towards renting there. In France and Germany – where just 45% of homes are actually owner occupied – renting is commonplace. It’s also a regular trend across the pond in big American cities.

Now, a large proportion of our society are faced with barriers to entry, meaning that renting is having to be considered as a serious option within the UK. Primarily, the Institute of Housing’s report calls for the ‘improvement of rented homes to meet changing trends’, be they changing demographics of rental tenants or their lifestyles.

I see this as a positive. I don’t understand why there remains a ‘stigma’ to renting a home beyond your student or early professional years. There are great opportunities available to people who can rent and as more and more developers become landlords tenants will gain more added security which the report suggests is currently lacking. At Urban Splash for example we’ve been accredited by the Homes and Communities Agency as a landlord of affordable homes.

The report also calls for a more diverse rental market with varied price points for people in differing circumstances. This diversity of choice is becoming more evident as developers themselves offer more of a rental choice; at Urban Splash for example we now retain a large proportion of our rental stock meaning that there is a choice to rent or buy at homes around the country. Our rental portfolio has increased to more than 400 homes this year.

As developers themselves become higher volume landlords it brings more positives to the market. Primarily, the customer can develop a direct relationship with the housebuilder, resulting in less middlemen, more hands on management and improved customer care which may well resort in customers ultimately purchasing their homes as mortgage availability improves.

The report also calls for the Government and developers to provide more for the ‘inbetweens’, a segment of society they identify as having incomes between £12,000 and £25,000 whose income puts them outside of the social housing bracket but often in near impossible positions in trying to secure a mortgage. This is where Homes and Communities backed products come into play. Rent to HomeBuy, for example is where customers can rent at 80% market rent whilst they save up to buy between 25% and 75% of their home for upto five years. This is available nationally at homes in Manchester and Plymouth. There’s also HomeBuy Direct (which is finishing in September) which is allows customers to get straight onto the property ladder through obtaining a mortgage for just 70% of their home with the remaining 30% obtained through an interest free equity loan. They give customers the option to either ‘try before they buy’, renting their home at a reduced rate for up to five years, or go into shared home ownership with less financial burden.

Overall I think this report’s done wonders to help catapult the issue of home ownership back into the public eye. I now think its the responsibility of developers and the Government to maintain these efforts and broaden the offering nationally; be that in terms of price, tenure, size and location.

Filed under: Leeds, Saxton, Urban Splash - tags:
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We are hosting an open evening this Thursday at Saxton in Leeds so that people can come and learn more about HomeBuy Direct.

The scheme allows customers to purchase their own home from as little as £69,695 and is backed by the Homes and Communities Agency. It helps customers to purchase up to 70% of their home with the remaining amount coming from an interest free loan from the HCA and Urban Splash. Our team, as well as our dedicated mortgage advisor will be on hand to give you advice about the scheme and what mortgage products are available to you. You could move into your new home this Summer!

Saxton itself boasts a mix of stunning one and two bedroom apartments all benefiting from fantastic specifications including full height glazing and visitors will be able to see this for themselves at our new eighth floor show apartment which will be ready to view on the evening. Outside the building there will be acres of green space with private residents’ garden and the opportunity for any greenfingered residents to have their own allotment. It’s located just a stone’s throw from the City Centre and in easy reach of the Calls and the City’s train station.

The doors will be open from 5pm through to 8pm and we really hope to see you there!

View Saxton in a larger map

Filed under: Leeds, Saxton, Urban Splash - tags: ,
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