Park Hill: New phase of iconic Sheffield flats redevelopment agreed despite parking protests

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The fourth phase of the redevelopment of Park Hill flats has been approved despite residents’ protests over the loss of green space for parking.

The latest proposals by developers Urban Splash to refurbish the block bounded by Duke Street and Rhodes Street will create 125 flats and townhouses with one to four bedrooms, plus two ground-floor commercial units. They were approved by a meeting of Sheffield City Council’s planning and highways committee yesterday, November 7.

The plans attracted 144 objections, mainly relating to the loss of two areas of green space for parking areas. Revised proposals involve only one of the two green spaces and will see another fenced-off area near a garage block turned into a green space.

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Planning officer Jacob George told the committee that this would result in an overall increase in green space.

Park Hill flats - a fourth phase of the renovation of the Sheffield city centre council estate has been approved by councillorsPark Hill flats - a fourth phase of the renovation of the Sheffield city centre council estate has been approved by councillors
Park Hill flats - a fourth phase of the renovation of the Sheffield city centre council estate has been approved by councillors

Objector Dave Watkins, a former chairman of Park Hill Residents’ Association, told the meeting that he had backed previous Urban Splash proposals and still wants to see the estate developed well.

Park Hill, which was opened in 1961 with its iconic ‘streets in the sky’ replacing slum clearance homes, is a grade II* listed building.

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Mr Watkins said there had been a lack of consultation with residents by Urban Splash. He added: “This compromise arrangement is really still not supported by the residents and we don’t feel we were involved in that process at all.

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A vision for the new commercial space that is part of Park Hill redevelopment phase four in SheffieldA vision for the new commercial space that is part of Park Hill redevelopment phase four in Sheffield
A vision for the new commercial space that is part of Park Hill redevelopment phase four in Sheffield

“It seems like planning and Urban Splash have got together, we were not happy with that and we still aren’t. We’re still hopping mad about it, even though it looks like it’s going to go through now.

“Previously there was really good consultation by Urban Splash, you could speak to the architect.”

Mr Watkins said that cycle storage promised in phase one still hadn’t been put in place properly. There are 36 spaces that are over-used, he said.

Mr Watkins pushed for a condition that planning permission would not be signed off by the council until new cycle spaces were agreed.

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Plans submitted by developers Urban Splash to Sheffield City Council for the fourth phase of redevelopment of Park Hill flats Plans submitted by developers Urban Splash to Sheffield City Council for the fourth phase of redevelopment of Park Hill flats
Plans submitted by developers Urban Splash to Sheffield City Council for the fourth phase of redevelopment of Park Hill flats

Steve Thomas, development manager at Urban Splash, said: “We have a long history spanning back almost 20 years at a project we are really passionate about.”

He added: “Park Hill is one of the most ambitious regeneration projects in the UK and the first three phases were hugely successful.”

He said that the company had engaged with residents and ward councillors and got 90 responses out of 455 households.

The design solution agreed balances a wide variety of opinions voiced, Mr Thomas said, and also caters to the needs of residents and visitors.

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As well as cycle storage, the plans include electric vehicle charging points, the introduction of a car club for short-term rentals and the provision of a new bus stop on Duke Street, said Mr Thomas.

Ward councillor Laura Moynahan said she was disappointed at losing one of the fields. She said that a lot of people who choose to live at Park Hill see the green space around the flats as important to them.

Green councillor Bernard Little voted against the plans. He said that not enough has been done on active travel plans and the affordable homes at Park Hill would still be beyond the reach of people in ‘gig economy’ jobs.