Councillors approve plans for major art gallery at Sheffield’s Park Hill flats

Proposals for a major art gallery at Park Hill in Sheffield have been approved by councillors – giving a fresh boost to the estate’s long-term restoration.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 12:32 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th September 2019, 12:43 pm
Park Hill phase four exterior.

Phase four of the flats’ revamp will transform another block of the 1960s built Grade II-listed Brutalist complex into the Park Hill Art Space, as well as more residential accommodation.

Planning permission for the new development - which will add 95 more residential units alongside the 600 sq m gallery and studio space for up to 50 artists - was unanimously approved by Sheffield Council’s planning committee.

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Park Hill phase four interior.

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Developers Urban Splash say they have ploughed £100m into the scheme to date - including the first phase, completed in 2013, and the continuing work on phases two and three, which began in January.

It is hoped that phase three - a block of student accommodation off Talbot Street being built by developer Alumno – will be ready for occupancy by September 2020.

Phase two – 200 more flats and more office space being developed by Urban Splash and Places for People - will be completed by mid-2021.

Phase four’s new art gallery will be home to the S1 Artspace – who have been operating from temporary premises at the estate for the last four years.

Park Hill phase four courtyard.

Developers say the venue will be a ‘national flagship project’ that will provide a world-class destination for arts, culture and heritage.

Louise Hutchinson, artistic director and CEO of S1 Artspace, said: “We are delighted that Sheffield Council have approved our plans for Park Hill Art Space.

“Over the past four years based at Park Hill, we’ve worked closely with the local community to deliver a relevant and ambitious programme of exhibitions and events.

“The opportunity to build on this work by establishing a major new cultural destination for the region will be significant for Sheffield.

“This project is also much more than an arts development, it is about recognising the pivotal role of culture in shaping the future of the city.”

When complete, Urban Splash says the new space will become one of the largest contemporary art galleries in the north of England.

The new-build gallery – which has been designed by architects Carmody Groarke, who recently worked on a new members’ room at the V&A in London – will be connected to the base of Park Hill’s existing Duke Street block, with the former Link pub becoming an entrance space, café and gallery shop, allowing open access to the flats as part of a ‘public heritage offer’.

Tom Bloxham MBE, chairman of Urban Splash, said: “We are very pleased to see the S1 Art Space plans progress. Our support for this and S1 is another example of Urban Splash’s commitment to help the arts across the country.

“In addition to our work at Park Hill we have also created artist spaces at Ocean Studios in Plymouth, Paradise Works in Manchester and have helped support hundreds of artist-backed events.

“We believe in genuine mixed use regeneration and are always delighted to work with credible artists and art organisations to help transform our towns and cities.”

The plans also include designs by Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects for an urban sculpture park outside the gallery and provision for social housing in line with planning obligations.

Exhibitions will continue at S1 Artspace’s current temporary home in the estate’s old garage complex until the new gallery opens.