Buyers snapping up views from Sheffield’s Park Hill

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JUST over a third of flats on sale to the public in the first phase of the refurbished Park Hill complex have been reserved - seven months after they went on sale.

Deposits have been taken for 18 of the 52 flats available to buyers, with contracts having been exchanged on five of them. A further 26 properties are being allocated to social housing tenants.

Bosses at Urban Splash, the developer behind the £146 million project to revamp all 870 flats, are upbeat despite the slow sales - saying they are ‘going very well’ in the current market.

Tom Bloxham, chairman of Urban Splash, said: “Park Hill is a quality building. It is a clever piece of design and it will be a great place to live.

“In October 2011 four show apartments were unveiled and the marketing suite opened to the public.

“New residents will be able to move into the first phase which consists of 78 one, two and three bedroom apartments in December 2012 priced from £90,000 and 26 of these are allocated social housing.

“Sales have been going very well, even in the current market with 18 of those available for the open market reserved, and the 26 for affordable housing in the process of being allocated.”

Contracts are in the process of being exchanged for some of the apartments, Urban Splash said.

The company has also been ‘in discussions with a range of business tenants’ to occupy 40,000 sq ft of commercial space on the lower floors of the building. It hopes to attract tenants including shops, bars and restaurants.

The cost of renovating Grade II Park Hill flats includes £30.8 million of public money.

Controversially, Sheffield Council last year approved £2.5 million of further cash to pay for security at the sections of the complex where redevelopment has not yet started.

Opposition Lib Dem councillors have criticised the extra spending at a time when massive £55 million cuts are being made to council spending.

Group leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “Local Lib Dem councillors have questioned the wisdom of this project from the very start.”

Park Hill is currently hosting a free Arts Council exhibition in two of the show apartments, called British Modern Remade, which runs until next Wednesday.

The curator is Helen Kaplinsky, winner of the Arts Council biannual curatorial competition for postgraduate students. She has selected pieces from the UK’s foremost collection of post modernism art.

Park Hill will also be the subject of a major European architecture exhibition called 1,000 Rooms With a View, which opens this summer at the Centre International pour la Ville, l’Architecture et le Paysage in Brussels, from June 8 to September 30.

TALKING POINT: VIEWS ON PARK HILL’S REGENERATION

■ “It is the largest listed building in Europe, a huge heritage monument to an architecture of the past.”

Financial Times

■ “The decision to list the building now looks brave and right. Had it gone, nothing would now be there but the nothing housing you see all over the country with meaner dimensions, shoddier building and an absence of spirit.” Rowan Moore, The Observer

■ “I used to hate Park Hill and used to want to knock the flats down...but now I think people will come to Sheffield and think they look great. I would actually consider buying one.”

A Sheffielder at the open day of the marketing suite

■ “I think this scheme gives real meaning to the word ‘regeneration’, it represents a new beginning, a new vitality.” Ivor Smith, original architect from when Park Hill was built in the late 1950s.