Park Hill Sheffield: Residents slam Urban Splash plans to pave over green spaces
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Residents of Park Hill have slammed plans from the site's developer to build car parks on local green spaces.
In an open letter to Sheffield City Council leader, Tom Hunt, residents from the local Save Our Spaces campaign called the plans "regressive" and urged him to work with the developers, Urban Splash, to find a "more reasonable" proposal.
The letter reads: "We’re writing to express our deep concern about plans to destroy green space in one of the most deprived areas of Sheffield to build two surface car parks.
"Developers Urban Splash claim they need to build these two car parks to make the flats sufficiently attractive to prospective buyers and tenants. But we do not believe this is true, with alternative options available that do not come at the expense of existing residents and near-neighbours of Park Hill, who use these two public spaces on a daily basis."
The letter told how residents use the green spaces on a daily basis for family picnics, cricket games and football games. It also mentioned the proven benefits green spaces have for people's mental and physical health.
It continued: "This is particularly important in an area of Sheffield bordering on the city centre with relatively small amounts of green public space compared to the rest of the city, and in a development where very few have their own private gardens.
"In the middle of a climate emergency, turning precious green space into car parks is regressive. This would make Sheffield more prone to flooding and more susceptible to heatwaves.
"We cannot imagine this happening in other parts of the city – residents in wealthier parts of Sheffield have fought hard to retain green space in their communities."
According to the letter, the plans, which have been submitted to Sheffield City Council, are part of Phase 4 of Urban Splash's Park Hill project. If Coun Hunt cannot work with the firm for what the campaigners called a "more reasonable" solution, he has been urged to ask Labour members of the Planning Committee to "stop" the plans.
Data from the 2021 Census shows the majority of Park Hill households do not have a car. Save Our Spaces said they "cannot understand why Urban Splash is proposing to build more parking spaces for flats in Phase 4 than flats in Phase 1 and Phase 2".
The campaigners have demanded Urban Splash look at the alternatives, like reopening parking on Rhodes Street - which was in previous plans for Phase 4.
They also suggested Urban Splash should "make the existing car parks at the estate residents and their visitors only, rather than also running them as pay-and-display car parks for city centre commuters". The letter admitted this would lead to a dip in revenue for Urban Splash but it was "the right thing to do by the community".
The letter said: "These measures, alongside a reduction in the overall parking provision for Phase 4 from an excessive 67 per cent, would remove the need to pave over our existing green spaces.
"The current plans are regressive, poorly thought out and downright irresponsible during a climate emergency."
In response to Save Our Spaces' letter, a spokesperson for Urban Splash said they "understand" residents concerns and are planning meetings with the community in hopes to "find a solution that both addresses demand for parking, while preserving as much green space as possible".
The Star has approached Coun Hunt for comments regarding the open letter.