Sheffield's Park Hill flats climbing event pulled after residents raise ‘grave concerns’

The alternative solution created by the Residents' Association.The alternative solution created by the Residents' Association.
The alternative solution created by the Residents' Association.
A climbing event which would have seen a temporary climbing wall installed on one of the buildings at Sheffield’s landmark Park Hill flats has been met with opposition and cancelled.

Members of the Park Hill Residents’ Association have announced that the ‘Climbing at the Sky’s Edge” event planned on the estate will not happen after they made clear they wouldn’t welcome the temporary climbing wall on one of the grade II*-listed buildings.

According to a planning document validated in April, Urban Splash aimed to install the wall on Pat Midgley Lane for an event called “Climbing at the Sky’s Edge” which is intended to be held between September 9 and 15, this year.

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The document added: “‘Climbing at the Sky’s Edge’ is an urban climbing wall event to showcase Sheffield’s climbing heritage with the creation of a world-class climb on one of the city’s most iconic buildings.”

The applicant said it was “a great opportunity for people to engage with the heritage of Park Hill”.

However, members of the Park Hill Residents’ Association disagreed.

Sam Gregory told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the applicant wanted to drill 250 holes in a grade II*-listed building.

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He said: “Urban Splash want to drill 250 holes into a grade II*-listed building for a temporary, one-week event. They’re saying these will then be filled in, made good, and that there won’t be any permanent damage to the building.

“But over the past few weeks, they’ve drilled a number of so-called ‘test holes’, and when they’ve filled them in again residents have witnessed permanent and seemingly irreversible damage to the fabric of this 63-year-old building.

“We should not be treating one of the city’s most loved and genuinely iconic buildings this badly.”

Mr Gregory added they did not oppose a climbing event at the estate but they had another idea: they proposed an alternative solution in which the climbing wall would be in scaffolding half a metre in front of the actual building itself.

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He said: “We’ve spoken to our local councillors, and expressed the grave concerns of residents that the plan as it currently stands will cause irreversible damage to a historic building and to our homes.

“We hope our local elected representatives will take this up with Urban Splash, and will champion our proposed solution which is simple, workable and which will allow the event to be the success that we want it to be.”

Sheffield City Council’s planning officers had originally until June 13 to make a decision but the deadline wasn’t met.

However, according to another document uploaded on June 21, the applicant wants to withdraw the proposal – but it has yet to be confirmed on the planning portal.

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At the same time, the residents’ association has declared victory on social media.

In a post, it wrote: “We are pleased to report that the proposed climbing event at Park Hill will not be taking place.

“The event partners did not consider the repairs conducted as part of the test installation satisfactory for a listed building. Given that they were unlikely to identify a better solution in time for planning permission to be granted, they chose to cancel the event instead.

“Urban Splash has confirmed that they will withdraw their listed building consent application.

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“Sheffield City Council has assured us that the holes already drilled into the building will be repaired to the highest standards, and a conservation officer and the planning service will oversee this work.”

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