'It is being reborn' - How Park Hill resurrection has moved to the next phase

Another section of Sheffield’s Park Hill flats will be ready for new residents by next Autumn, developers have revealed.

Friday, 23rd August 2019, 10:32 am
Updated Friday, 6th September 2019, 17:18 pm

Phase three of the long-running development - a block of student flats off Talbot Street built by developer Alumno - will be ready for the beginning of the next academic year in September 2020.

It is hoped that phase two of the project - another 200 flats and more office space being developed by Urban Splash and Places for People at the same time as phase three - will then be ready by Autumn 2021.

Tour of the on going works on Park Hill. Pictured is Harvey Middleton, Construction Manager. Picture: Chris Etchells

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

As the development continues apace, The Star were given an access all areas tour of the new flats, showing the extent of the work already complete and just how much there is to do.

Construction manager Harvey Middleton, who has already been working on the site for around five years, said seeing the building - and the area - being renovated was immensely rewarding.

“You can see the state it was left in,” he said.

“There were the last few people left in here when I started but you wouldn’t have wanted to live here. Park Hill had an awful reputation at one time.

Tour of the on going works on Park Hill. New works by Kid Acne. Picture: Chris Etchells

“I don’t really like working on new builds - I like bringing life back into an area. It was a ghetto when I first came here but now it is coming back. It is being reborn.”

Many of the 100 or so contractors are currently working to remove the building’s distinctive balustrades which have in most cases deteriorated too far to be repaired.

But they are also fixing what concrete they can rescue using specialist techniques and replacing it with new material to specifications agreed with Historic England.

In the meantime, the decaying walls of the 1960s built structure have been decorated by Sheffield Artist Kid Acne whose work will also feature in an exhibition at the S1 artspace later this year.

Tour of the on going works on Park Hill. Picture: Chris Etchells

“Water gets under the concrete, the steel rusts and bits break off,” said Harvey.

“Every repair is slightly different and has to be done to a certain standard of finish because it is a listed building.”

Inside, phase two’s 200 flats are currently taking shape, with the building’s concrete shell slowly being exposed before the new internal layout can be created.

The blocks will join the first phase of development via the iconic ‘I Love You’ bridge where there will be another scenic glass lift similar to those in phase one.

Tour of the on going works on Park Hill. New works by Kid Acne. Picture: Chris Etchells

Externally the blocks will be more muted than the multicoloured facade of phase one, but the building’s footprint will be retained so the shared outside communal areas can be enjoyed by a new generation of residents.

Surriya Falconer of Falconer Associates, Urban Splash’s PR company, said it was hoped that more residents would mean more on site services for everyone who lives there.

“I think there will be a tipping point,” she said.

“Everyone wants there to be a shop so when the students come next year you will probably see a small local supermarket and the Scottish Queen has all the fittings needed to be a bar again - it just needs a tenant.”

After phase two and three are completed, phase four - a 600 square metre art gallery and more flats in the Duke Street block - will begin before phase five at the top end of South Street is developed last.

All in all, Surriya said the finished development is not expected to take much longer than five more years.

Work on phase two of the Park Hill project is well underway.

As time goes by, developers Urban Splash and Places for People hope the new businesses, restaurants, shops and community spaces that come along will give the development more permanence and an anchor in the community.

“People talk about gentrification but there is a really mixed demographic here now,” said Surriya.

“The Moor was once the scuzzy end of town but with regeneration things change and the same is happening here.”