A New Quarter
Momentum is building to help realise the ambition of Park Hill becoming a vibrant new mid century quarter for Sheffield.
£18m has been invested to complete the first phase of the redevelopment and deliver a further 182 apartments for sale and rent alongside commercial space, additional landscaping and an imaginative arts programme. We are also looking forward to welcoming Grace Owen Nursery to their new premises in the New Year.
Urban Splash is partnering with property and management company Places for People.
Managing Director Simon Gawthorpe says: “I am more excited and enthusiastic than at any other time in the past ten years. A lot of hard work is coming to fruition, and we are incredibly confident about the future.”
As residents and businesses move into refurbished premises, a new image of the grade II* listed landmark is taking shape. Memories of rundown Sixties council tower blocks are being dispelled.
Critics of conservation agency English Heritage’s decision to opt for listing in 1998 instead of supporting demolition are being prompted to think again.
“Originally there were the perceptions of it being a no go zone and intimidating, but very few people bring them up now,” says Simon. “The people who may still have negative opinions haven’t been to Park Hill. When they have been, their views have changed. Once you begin to deliver, things start to change. There has been a fundamental shift in thinking.”
Urban Splash chairman Tom Bloxham MBE says: “Park Hill has a chequered history, but it was a well designed building, with its streets in the sky. Every single flat was a duplex two storey with a double aspect, south facing living room, wall to floor windows and balconies. They had more space than most luxury flats.”
New Residential Director at Urban Splash Guy Ackernley adds: “A new generation is discovering the benefits of the ‘high life’ at Park Hill. There is a real sense of a new, growing community here now.”
Each of the 182 apartments now for sale cover two floors and with balconies, they have one, two or three bedrooms. Prices range from £100,000 for one bedroom to £170,000 for three bedrooms.
A range of options enables people of all incomes to live at Park Hill – either through buying or by renting via market or affordable rents. The marketing suite is open and the show apartment available to view.
Urban Splash partnered with housing association Great Places for the first phase that included 78 apartments. These were completed in 2013, are all sold and currently there are over 100 residents living at Park Hill.
Adam Jackson, 27, is among the 100 residents who already call Park Hill home. He bought a one bedroom duplex apartment for £100,000 – and has no regrets.
“I was living at home with my parents in Doncaster,” he says. “I worked in Sheffield and wanted to move closer to work. All the flats I saw were pokey and didn’t have any features. This place has got nice big windows and a lot of light. It’s warm and it’s quite cheap to run. I’m very happy with it.
“It’s only five minutes from the train station and the city centre and places like the Crucible and the O2 Academy. You can’t knock the location. It’s perfect for me.
“The views are brilliant. I can see up the Upper Don Valley, all the way to Oughtibridge.”
Adam, who works as an engineer with a plastics company, says there have been no problems with security.
“It feels safe. There are a lot of people around. I know Park Hill became quite infamous, but I say to people ‘come down and have a look’. That soon changes their mind.”
Adam is excited at the future, as more phases of redevelopment are rolled out and the infrastructure improves.
“It’s good to see Park Hill gearing up again, especially after the recession”.
Park Hill is no longer just a place to live - increasingly it is becoming a place to work, especially in the creative and digital sectors.
The latest companies to take space on the hill overlooking Sheffield city centre include the highly acclaimed independent film and TV production company, Warp Films.
They are being joined by a range of other creative companies - Cloaked, Yoomee, Airship, Kada Research, Can Studios and Alpha Recruitment. And they are all following in the footsteps of creative agencies Human and Über, who were the first to realise the commercial potential of Park Hill. By the end of this year the business community at Park Hill could grow to 200.
Meanhile, Über has become the first company in South Yorkshire to benefit from a national £40m Government-backed superfast broadband scheme, spending a £3,000 grant on a wireless connection supplied by Sheffield-based Idaq Networks. It takes Über’s broadband speeds from 6Mbps to 300Mps, and points the way for other companies moving into Park Hill.
The growing popularity of the business hub - and increasing source of employment in Sheffield - is in tune with Urban Splash’s ambition for Park Hill.
Sense of community
It is one of the most high-profile venues in Sheffield – Sheaf Valley is an amphitheatre cut into the hillside, between Park Hill and the railway station. And it was the setting in September for Amphifest, a celebration combining music and theatre with other community activities ranging from donkey rides to a dog show.
The event, highlighting the talent on the doorstep, was organised by the voluntary group, Friends of Sheaf Valley, and sponsored by Urban Splash. In the evening, more than 160 people sat on straw bales for ‘the largest and most homely community meal in Sheffield’,
‘Amphifeast’ was an opportunity to enjoy vegetable curries and chapattis and live music and to celebrate the diversity and friendliness of the neighbourhood.
Since opening four years ago as part of a wider regeneration scheme to create Sheaf Valley Park, stretching from Victoria Quays to Norfolk Park, the amphitheatre has hosted a series of public events. Shakespeare has been making occasional appearances – a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream even featured a troupe of cyclists!
Our next event will be our Christmas celebration for those who live and work here as well as the local community.
The Scottish Queen, one of four former pubs at Park Hill, and once dubbed one of the most dangerous in the country, is becoming established as a different kind of focal point.
It continues to host a vibrant programme of exhibitions curated by Arts Consultant Leila Alexander and S1 Artspace, as well as events and workshops in partnership with a range of artists and organisations including Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield College, Sheffield Design Week and Art Sheffield.
Recent exhibitions include Terminus, by installation artist David Cotterrell, that explored the legacy of the former Tinsley Cooling Towers, marking the beginning of the Tinsley Art Project and part of the build up to the launch of a £450,000 public art commission.
Also an exhibition of the first survey of Peter Doig’s printwork to be staged in the UK called ‘There is No Wealth but Life’ featured his works on paper from the collection of Tim Dickson. This attracted national attention as it was complementary to the Going Public exhibitions currently on citywide that feature pieces from international art collectors.
Beer with love
When the second phase of the redevelopment of Park Hill was launched, award-winning Thornbridge Brewery raised a glass in support. It has produced a beer called ‘I Love You Will You Marry Me’, using the famous phrase associated with the bridge at Park Hill, and that is lit up in neon lights.
Visitors sampled the strawberry blonde ale at an open day that also celebrated the start of Sheffield Design Week. The beer is available in bottles and on draught in Thornbridge pubs. Thornbridge is also the official brewery partner for The Scottish Queen exhibitions programme.