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    US30 - Guest blog by Sammie Steele

    US30 - Building stronger communities through collaboration

    14 June 2023
    A 4 minute read by Sammie Steele

    As we celebrate 30 years of Urban Splash, we’re hearing from those who know US best, and today it’s the turn of Sammie Steele – Managing Director for Placemaking and Regeneration at Places for People.

    Urban Splash formed a joint venture partnership with Places for People back in 2014, since delivering hundreds of new homes and thriving communities across the country. Here, Sammie talks about a shared vision and common values – each contributing to a decade of success through partnership.

    There’s a strong bond between Places for People and Urban Splash. Our shared work is driven by a team of great people – each passionate about creating lasting legacies and delivering something we can all be proud of.

    Sammie Steele - Managing Director for Placemaking and Regeneration at Places for People.

    Such partnerships are crucial for Places for People as we strive to improve customers’ lives. We are a social enterprise committed to creating and supporting thriving communities where everyone matters – be through the development of homes, schools, shops, community and leisure centres or providing access to job opportunities, training, and specialist support services.

    We’re meticulous in choosing our partners. It’s essential that anyone we collaborate with shares our vision, with a strong desire to improve the lives of others. Doing the right thing is at our core.

    Over the past decade, Urban Splash has done that, demonstrating that its work aligns with our values. Everything from the people – Simon Gawthorpe, Mark Latham, Guy Ackernley and their teams who each mirror our appetite for collaboration – to the work itself.

    Park Hill in Sheffield

    Collaboration in action

    We’ve delivered hundreds of homes together since 2014, the most notable being at Park Hill in Sheffield and Port Loop in Birmingham.

    At both of those developments we have assimilated our expertise and are already nurturing new communities and looking after our new residents. Take Park Hill – an imposing development, that can be seen from most vantage points in Sheffield. This structure’s had a huge impact on me, and my favourite memory of our partnership is seeing it for the first time. It is so prominent, with so much potential, and I’m saddened to think that not long ago it was left to decline - especially in a city that much needed new homes.

    As partners, Urban Splash and Places for People each indulged in our desire to bring this building back to life for Sheffield – prioritising the creation of something brave and new – delivering a truly mixed tenure community with homes for all coming through in the first three phases – the affordable, purchase and rental homes in the first two residential phases, as well as the student accommodation phase. We created accessible commercial spaces too – providing great opportunities for small scale businesses to thrive in a burgeoning cultural quarter

    Homes at Park Hill in Sheffield

    Facing challenges together

    But successes aside, there are inevitable stumbling blocks along the way. Placemaking today comes with numerous challenges – the place needs to be right for the community, both for neighbours and our new residents, pioneering sustainability, helping residents live greener by design, addressing the housing shortage and building safety regulations.

    By working collectively, we can foster a deeper understanding of what needs to be done to ensure our communities set new standards and raise the bar for design, sustainability and by being truly accessible to all.

    Community events at Port Loop in Birmingham

    At Port Loop, that meant nurturing a new community on former industrial land. The site is already starting to transform into a wonderful new community where the initial phases provide houses of varying typologies using modular construction delivering large open plan spaces for our new residents. . We also repurposed this largely unusable land into luscious green spaces, including a new public park which was installed early. And we designed the area so that residents could enjoy access to the adjacent canal – all of which promoted a healthy outdoor lifestyle for our residents

    At Park Hill, we had to create something that would help the people of Sheffield fall back in love with the building. I’m proud that we’ve now enticed people back up to Park Hill, with accessible and affordable homes, workspaces and green spaces that have redefined this part of town.

    Homes at Port Loop in Birmingham

    A look to the future

    With a decade of collaboration and strong bonds formed, I am excited about our future working with Urban Splash.

    Creating sustainable and thriving communities for the long term comes with responsibilities, and having a trusted partner like Urban Splash by our side brings immense benefits. Our mutual respect, honesty, and trust drives us to do right by our communities.

    Urban Splash Newsplash

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