The Park Hill estate sits in a prominent position over looking the city of Sheffield in England and provides a striking backdrop to city centre behind the refurbished Midland Station. The estate is not just the block of flats but a whole area of other buildings, like a school.
Park Hill was the first completed post-war slum clearance scheme of an entire community in Britain. It was the most ambitious inner-city development of its time. In 1954, work began on the design of Park Hill and it was later built between 1957 and 1961.
Within the old Park area architects recognised there was a strong sense of local community and in the design of Park Hill, tried to preserve this community spirit. Where possible, neighbours were rehoused alongside each other in the new complex and each flat opens out onto a 10 foot wide deck. This provided access for milk floats and communal areas, enhancing the image of "streets in the sky". Giving rise to the term Deck Access flats
The buildings alone contains around 1,000 flats and covers an area of 17 acres. The whole site covers 32 acres. The slope of the site inspired the idea of a continuous roof line which results in the height of the blocks varying dramatically from 4 storeys at the top of the estate, rising as it runs down the Hill to 13 storeys towards the City.
Over the years the estate had 31 shops, 4 pubs, 74 garages, a primary and a nursery school, doctor's surgery and pharmacy. There was also a large district heating system, which has a large chimney visible at the Eastern end. The shops were set at the lowest point of the estate, to which people were thought to naturally gravitate. Four pubs and a laundrette were more widely dispersed at points on the ground near lifts.
In 1998, Park Hill was listed as Grade II* by the Department of Media, Culture and Sport.
This placed it amongst the top 5% of Listed buildings in the country and identified it as a building of outstanding interest, drawing particular attention to the layout and appearance of the estate. A lot of people feel it should be demolished like other Sheffield blocks such as the Kelvin Flats.
In 2003, the council in conjunction with English Partnerships, began to put together a masterplan for the future of the estate.
The results of surveys commissioned at the time revealed a need for a reduction in Council rented units. So it was proposed to split the mix of units to 1/3 social rented, 1/3 market sale and 1/3 commercial space. Following public adverts for selection of a Registered Social Landlord and Development partners in April 2004. This resulted in Parkway Housing (Manchester Methodist Housing Group) and Urban Splash were selected.
As a result Sheffield Homes, and Sheffield City Council have committed to rehouse residents, to provide the developer with empty blocks in a phased programme. The first phase to be handed over will be the largest block overlooking the Park Square roundabout.
In March 2006, Urban Splash submitted an application for outline planning permission.
The plans include:
- High quality public and private spaces
- A brand new doctor’s surgery and nursery facilities
- Retail and leisure facilities
- Flats for rent and low cost home ownership
- Around 580 flats for sale on the open market
Rehousing and clearanceEdit
Sheffield City Council started to move the existing tenants out of Park Hill in December 2003.
- Phase 1 - The North Block, 13 storey block overlooking the town centre, was the first to be emptied.
- Phases 2 and 3 are both empty and secured
- Phase 4 will be completely vacant by summer 2008.
- Phase 5 Will not be emptied until 2010.
Tenants of greater than one year have priority for Homes
Demolition of none-listed building sectionEdit
In summer 2006, Park Hill junior school was closed, and along with the shops and Area Housing Office was demolished in 2007.
In June 2007, Urban Splash submitted their detailed planning application for Phase 1
It sets out their proposals for:
- 253 flats for sale
- 56 flats for rent
- 12 flats for shared ownership
- A new GPs surgery and nursery
- Retail and leisure facilities
- High quality public realm
This application was passed in October 07.
Urban Splash are stripping phase 1 out during 2008.
- Sheffield City Council have commissioned a documentary about the regeneration of Park Hill.
- The BBC are also making a series on the Regeneration agency "English Partnerships" featuring Park Hill
(Based on Info from Sheffield council Park hill regeneration web site); http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/planning-and-city-development/neighbourhood-regeneration/south-sheffield-regeneration/park-hill