Giving Park Hill a ‘new lease of life’

March 2nd, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Simon Gawthorpe


I had a big grin on my face when I read this article in the Yorkshire Post. It makes lots of great references to the work Urban Splash and our partners have done at Park Hill.


The writer, who visited site last week, talks of ’spectacular views’ and how Park Hill’s reputation of old was ‘consigned to the dustbin of history’.

We’ve now completed the first phase and 260 homes, and it really makes me proud to see what’s been achieved. Park Hill being given a ‘new lease of life’ was an impossible task in many people’s eyes and we’ve not only achieved what we set out to do in creating homes, but we’ve created workspaces, a nursery, an art gallery and crucially somewhere the city keeps wanting to use for events (last summer’s Sheffield Design Week launch and Peddler St Food Festival for example). It’s a community now.

Read the full article here and watch this space for Park Hill phase 2 announcements…

Filed under: Park Hill, Urban Splash

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Read my latest interview with Cheshire Magazine, in which I talk about being in business, our plans for hoUSe and my hats..!

The full article features on page 34.

Filed under: Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe

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A whole lot of history

February 3rd, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Emily Handslip


Take a look at this beautiful gallery of historical images from Royal William Yard.


Local Plymouth paper the Western Morning News recently featured the images; a fantastic archive of the hive of activity that preceded the new buzzing atmosphere we have here today


Do you have any old memories of the Yard you can share? Let us know in the comments below…

Filed under: Mills Bakery, Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Transformation: Our Book, Urban Splash

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How I started in business before Urban Splash

February 2nd, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE


I was recently invited to be the first guest in the new IKON Digital series. Watch what I had to say about my career, being an entrepreneur and getting started by clicking on the video above…

Filed under: Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash

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hoUSe: according to the Housing Minister

January 21st, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE


I read with great interest a recent interview that the Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, gave to Construction Manager magazine, in which he referred to hoUSe as an example of good custom build housing.

His comments come following a site visit with me and the HCA last summer; a wonderful opportunity to show him how we’re helping solve the housing crisis.


Read his full comments here or the excerpt below.

Lewis was also enthusiastic about the wider adoption of custom build, where buyers have the latitude to determine the look and layout of new homes. He  referred to a July visit to developer Urban Splash’s “House” project in New Islington, where customers can select the size and distribution of space thanks to the modular construction methods used.

“What really struck me at Urban Splash, was the speed of delivery, but also the customisation. The only thing that’s fixed is the outer walls; internally you can lay it out how you want. It’s about speed and therefore choice for the customer.”

Filed under: New Islington, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe

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Building houses people can ‘have a future in’

January 11th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE


I listened with great interest over the weekend to the Prime Minister’s plans to release a £140m funding package which will help community groups, councils, housing associations and developers turn around some of the country’s worst council estates.

It’s a welcome initiative and something I’m fully in support of however the Government needs to ensure that each geographical area - even each former council estate - is looked at carefully and that the right solution is created for each.

It’s something we’ve done a lot of in the last 20 years, and you come to realise what’s appropriate and what will work. We’ve been working for example at New Islington in Manchester for more than a decade; it used to be known as the Cardroom Estate and was a notoriously deprived area of the city. Demolition of the existing homes was definitely the best way forward as it paved the way for us, Manchester City Council and other developers to create a new masterplan and ultimately contemporarily appropriate housing solutions as well as workspaces, a health centre, a park, a marina and a school.


In the case of buildings like Park Hill in Sheffield - we had a contrasting view. Back in the sixties, the vast building of 1000 flats housed hundreds of families and was regarded as an urban utopia. There was no doubt in our mind that retention and restoration was definitely the best way forward and we’ve already converted almost 300 homes there for modern buyers and tenants. We did the same at 3Towers on the outskirts of Manchester - the three buildings there were retrievable and hundreds of people live there.


This programme is a good start but there’s still much more that needs to be done if we’re to make full viable and sustainable use of the country’s most rundown housing blocks - £140m will not go very far between 100 estates!

Filed under: 3 Towers, Affordable homes, Manchester, New Islington, Park Hill, Sheffield, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash

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Park Hill Newsletter December 2015

December 17th, 2015 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Simon Gawthorpe

Park Hill Newsletter - December 2015

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.”


Homing in

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.


‘No regrets’

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”.


Business hub

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.


Artistic impressions

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.


Filed under: Park Hill, Sheffield

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November 25th, 2015 [ No comments ]

Creating raw, inspiring office spaces at Stubbs Mill

by Mike Banton


The raw office spaces at Stubbs Mill in Manchester are progressing nicely and my team at Artez - contractors on the building - have now completed the ceilings and the windows have been installed.


Look out for more updates in the new year.


Filed under: Manchester, Urban Splash

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Helping you buy at Park Hill

November 17th, 2015 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Guy Ackernley

htb_blog1Did you know that it’s even easier to own a home at Park Hill in Sheffield thanks to the Government’s Help to Buy scheme which is now available on selected properties at the development.

It works like this: the Government lends you up to 20% of the cost of your new-build home, so you’ll only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest.

Want to find out more? Then come to our mortgage workshop on the evening of Thursday 26th November where as well as being able to view our award winning flats, you can also meet with an IFA who can show you just how easy it could be to own your own piece of an architectural icon.

We can go through all the facts and figures and answer all the questions you didn’t know who to ask. Drop us a line to find out more.

Filed under: Park Hill, Sheffield, Urban Splash

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Early footage of Park Hill

October 28th, 2015 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Mark Latham


I recently came across this fantastic colour footage of Park Hill in Sheffield.


The opening sequence and presence of saplings in South Street Park, leads me to believe that the film was shot in the very early days of the development. It’s fascinating to see all these people going about their daily lives - from the children playing on the modernist concrete and steel climbing frame to the bride in her wedding dress!

I found this gem on this fantastic blog - the author of which has also published a book featuring some wonderful shots of one of our newly refurbished Park Hill flats.


It’s certainly changed a lot from this video to what it is now, so take a look at some of our before and after images to see how it’s evolved.

Filed under: Park Hill, Sheffield, Urban Splash

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