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Sid Fletchers Blog
|Posted on 7 October, 2011 at 6:59||comments ()|
PARK HILL GRAND (RE) OPENING – TWO TALES FROM THE SAME CITY
0r I search ParkHill on the Internet ..so you don't have to Part3
Show apartments and marketing suite opening Saturday 8th October 2011 from 11am
It’s the day before the grand opening of the Urban Splash show flats at Park Hill; Everyone and their dog seems to be having (and is likely to be having for the next couple of months) a right royal feeding frenzy about it.
There’s been some high profile / high brow events such as the National Youth Theatres production of Slick and also a huge party last week organised by Article Magazine
Probably not my scene anyway….Anyhow there certainly seems to be an air of understandable trepidation within Sheffield about the reopening of the estate and whether or not it’s going to work in the long term; with the usual polar arguments from the pessimists - moaning that it’s a waste of money, time, dumping ground for problems, a blot on Sheffield skyline etc etc yawn - to the more progressive hopeful optimists (My good self included) - we all know a pessimist is never disappointed eh! This comment from a prospective buyer is a very encouraging one and I certainly hope more indicative of things to come
I grew up in a village in the Derbyshire dales and Sheffield was always our closest major city. The place you went to but records, to go to concerts and to begin to grow up into. I was always brought up to look down my nose at Park Hill. A place for those who lived on benefits, didn’t contribute anything and spent their lives indulging in anti-social behaviour.
As I grew up, I got to know a number of people who lived at Park Hill and learned that its inhabitants were just like everyone else - stuggling through life and making the same mistakes as everyone else. I now visit family in derbyshire regularly and this entails a trip through the centre of sheffield. Each time my eyes drift towards the Park Hill skyline and I am thrilled to see how its changed on each consecutive visit. I happen to think that English Heritage are almost a liability under Simon Thurleys leadership, but on this decision they were not wrong.
I am delighted that this important element of Shgeffield’s social history is being brought back to life and with
any luck I will be first in line to buy one when they become available.
Discussion has ranged from the colour of the iodised exterior panels, to the interior design, to how much they are; to much more serious fundamental and ethical questions such as who is going to live there ?, are private Landlords going to buy en masse, how many social tenants or units of affordable housing are there likely to be and so on ad infinitum … Urban Splash have indicated there’s been tons of interest with at a ratio of 20 enquiries per unit so things are definitely looking good …
Urban Splash says it has been "delighted" with the response, with about 1,000 people signing up for information ahead of the first sales, and strong interest from businesses. If Park Hill is successfully reborn – far from a certainty for a project which has already required one public bailout – it will complete a 50-year full circle for the estate and indicate a possible wider shift in public opinion towards such postwar schemes.
For all you armchair design critics out here here’s the Brochure and also the promotional YouTube clip
There’s no doubt that the spec and design layout of these flats is world class and highly enviable – it does seem clear that the market there’re aiming to reach with this phase of the refurbishment is that of Urban professional
(People seem to have dropped the “young” from this phrase - post millennia)
That said however it seems unclear about how a mix of social housing within the refurb is to be achieved - there is no more poignant moment to emphasize this than the video from TheOneShow; when former caretaker Grenville Squires looks around the new flats
– I was always under the understanding that some Social housing tenants were to be placed there; indeed the re-housing list was already full of ex tenants who enjoyed living there so much they wanted to return.
It is somewhat frustrating to see so many inhabitable empty flats in the other parts of the estate with such a huge waiting list for to be rehoused – That said though it does give the lover of the Urban Environment a window of a couple of years to sit isolated within such a massive scheme - and take in the whole ambience of Brutalism in its finest and ultimately derelict form
Very good thought provoking comment on
• Regeneration? What's happening in Sheffield's Park Hill is class cleansing
MelKelly's comment 28 September 2011 7:46PM
In the supposed free market councils are not allowed to borrow to build housing, yet housing associations can and property developers can.
If the market is free why successive government since have Margaret Thatcher's refused to let councils borrow to build social housing?
What good reason is there?
Councils invest for the long term need, not the short term profit, setting rents at affordable prices to cover the costs - not for making profit - and the private sector don't want to compete with that - so government's have kept the ban on councils building social housing in place.
So we are deprived of social housing to ensure private landlords can maximise profits in a rented housing monopoly.
And the end result is houses that councils would have rented out for £300 being rented out by the private sector for £800 per month
Why should any government be allowed to manipulate the market to deprive people of housing and maximize private sector profits which has resulted in mass homelessness and extortion by private sector landlords
It is time for the housing market to have the shackles removed and become truly free i.e. councils can borrow to build social housing and rent it out at affordable rates if that is what local people want.
I think it is time we had a referendum on this issue
I still can’t understand why Sheffield City Council decanted residents pretty much enmasse from ParkHill; Maybe they thought they could then demolish it without anyone noticing! I agree with Owen Hatherley on this - maybe the empty flats should be squatted? but there again why should I understand any logic from the Council ; Its happy to entrust me with potential life or death decisions about who goes to hospital in the middle of the night; but won’t trust me to get an envelope from the stationary cupboard to send a GP a report!
Don’t get me wrong; this is a criticism of Local government than a criticism of UrbanSplash; if anyone is going to make Park Hill work then I believe it’s them,
Having stayed within some of their developments in Manchester which were categorically perceived as slums 10-15 years ago its amazing how much Urban Splash have changed whole areas round. So at risk of being accused a naïve, rose tinted spec wearing , splinter-arsed,fence sitter - I largely wish that the regeneration is a huge success –
Finally for all you old retro post war vintage nostalgia loving romantics here’s some great films of ParkHill first time round, get the tea and HobNobs out and enjoy…
Streets in the sky
|Posted on 19 September, 2011 at 14:45||comments ()|
Still tons and tons of interest and intrigue locally, nationally and (ahem) internationally regarding the developments at ParkHill
Apparently the show flats’ll be available for viewing from the 8th of October (form an orderly queue please) here’s what some of the papers have to say about the refurbishment–
Firstly lets start closest to home - here’s the Sheffield Star –
Towerblockmetal fans will be glad to see I actually responded against the tirade of miserable drizzlers who are happy to condemn ParkHill and other high density social housing projects to the dustbin; blaming the buildings themselves as causing many social problems -check out the reasoned and well thought out contributions by some locals !
Also check out sneaky pics of the PH showflats on the BBC page
Everyone has their 15 minutes of fame – well Roy Hattersley and Grenville Squires certainly managed 5 minutes of theirs on the OneShow ; talking about Park Hill - Roy Hattersley was involved in the commissioning of the estate from its inception in the 1950s and remembers well the ideals and visions of the planners at time ; Grenville Squires (now retired and semi legendary ) was the caretaker on ParkHill for the past 30 years and has always spoke vehemently in its defence.
Watching the clip i couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for Grenville, who has obviously dedicated so much of his time and effort into making ParkHill a positive place to live in and defended it from the doom mongers who've never been there. It felt like ParkHill no longer needed Grenville and he was obsolete; i sincerely hope this isn't the case . The man deserves a statue!
Not one to miss out on anything to do with ParkHill the unstoppable Single Aspect has been back in Sheffield again- to attend the recent Heritage days and also the "Brutalist Speculations" Conference at the Site gallery- the guy just can't stay away!
–Although I was regretfully unable to attend said conference due to my work committments I did manage to meet up several times for housing tours, cooked breakfasts, general Urban derive and many a few beer or ten - ( I'd like to think Single Aspect feels my city tours are better-could show Owen Hatherley a thing or two)
A nice add on to all this was our "Twilight tour" showing Senior staff of the 20C Society around the outer estates at dusk ; viewing the newly built Larkin Grove at Parson Cross, the city vista from Gleadless Valley and Norfolk Park and the finale ending up at the illuminated Moore Street Substation
Larkin Grove - Parson Cross
I can't say i'm overenthusiastic about the look;
too much like something off CeeBeeBies for me
..but there're certainly interesting
Also ParkHill has made the shortlist for the 2011
World Architecture Festival awards in the Future category
It is the only UK building to be shortlisted in its category (residential)
the only UK project to be shortlisted in its category
Also check this out from BuildingDesign
Any non believers that say Tower blocks don't work and can't be managed would do well to read the following article from the Guardian; demonstrating that with the right mix of tenants (who want to be there) and simple concierge – the most deprived housing areas can be made to function well for the urban setting . It is a good article also for believers to back up their arguments
Keep in touch folks - TowerBlockMetal mugs, cards and prints are now on sale at the Moonko stall in the Nicholls building Shalesmoor ,Sheffield
Grand opening event Saturday 24thb September
|Posted on 23 June, 2011 at 20:42||comments ()|
Heck of a lot of interest in the old dear on the week of her 50th Birthday! Check out "link central" below.....
Lets kick off with an article from the Independent
And also some Musings of an Urbanist on the above article; the usual Hatherley type debate regarding the sale of social housing to the dreaded middle classes....
Some locals talking about the ongoing works and the South Street Ampitheatre
in Skyscraper City...like the idea of "Minack North!"
Several events are up and coming ...Sheffield Civic Trust are holding a tour of the estate on Friday 24th June but alas its already fulled booked- rest assured they are holding further tours later in the year
The National Youth Theatre will be staging a performance in Park Hill early September
Also plenty of events coming up in the Autumn read Press release by Urban Splash
also here's their regular Park Hill Page
Sheffields much loved Jonathan Wilkinson of "Welivehere" fame; is creating several new interpretations of the estate ; also a set of new artworks are to be commissioned specially by architectural art specialists Dainow and Dainow ; as well as a new piece of home ware from Corin Mellor at David Mellor design
On a personal note; I am looking forward to spending some time in July with fellow Blogger/ Housing enthiasiast SingleAspect
Almost certainly we will be spending time in and around PH and we are endevouring; via the council to gain (legal) access to one of the empty tenancies for photos research etc , obviously this will be a future Blog topic if we are sucessful; also am looking forward to organising several other Industrial / housing / heritage tours ...hopefully on the backdrop of too many Wetherspoons Breakfasts and beer in the evenings
Hellfire ... just can't keep up.. Don't worry ...i'll be churning out even more TowerBlockMetal mugs and prints in the usual style and manner (sign up to my Blog or Twitter to keep up to speed on events) - may even have to set up a trestle table in the middle of events ...... jus like Del Boy eh!
And finally - forget what all the socialites have to say ... here's Building UK s view on the matter
|Posted on 17 June, 2011 at 9:22||comments ()|
Not the most advertised event of the decade ; but apparently Park hill was officially opened 50 years ago (yesterday)- I only got to learn when I was going to bed ! Here's what the Yorkshire Post had to say .....
Graffiti to be rescued in city flats restoration
Published on Thursday 16 June 2011 06:00
AN UNLIKELY feature of Sheffield’s Grade II Listed Park Hill flats has been preserved as part of the redevelopment of the high-rise complex.
A scrawled graffiti message making the statement “I love you will u marry me” has been a feature of a concrete bridge linking two sections of the structure for many years.
Now developer Urban Splash has decided the message, daubed by an unknown author, is too valuable to lose and it has been highlighted further with a neon sign which spells out the words.
It is 50 years today since Park Hill flats were officially opened as council flats. For several years now Urban Splash has been involved in redevelopment work which will see the complex transformed for modern needs.
Exterior work and landscaping are now nearing completion, with apartments expected to go on sale from September, when the first four to be modernised will go on show to the public.
Urban Splash chairman Tom Bloxham said graffiti was now recognised as part of the heritage and romance of the flats.
He said: “As Park Hill turns 50, a new chapter is beginning and it is fitting to mark this point with the unveiling of the next modern twist at Park Hill – the neon I Love You Will U Marry Me sign.
“The declaration ‘I love you will you marry me’ is not only an iconic piece of graffiti but is also our invitation to the city. We want people to love Park Hill once again and it is exciting to see the development taking shape,” he said.
A series of events over several months is being planned to celebrate the building’s half-century anniversary, which will include exhibitions, music and arts events.
In addition, designers and artists have also been commissioned to create homeware and artworks to commemorate the anniversary.
Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council’s regeneration spokesman, said: “Park Hill is a flagship development in Sheffield, both because it’s so visible from many parts of the city and it has such a rich and fascinating history.”
You'd think that given the Grade 2 listed status of the Brutalist Beauty and also how much Urban Splash are promoting how fantastic it is and will be to live there; they'd have made more of fuss about the unveiling of the now neon enhanced classic graffiti adorning the walkway connecting Long Henry Row between Phase 1 and Phase 2
Anyhow at risk of sounding like a right miserable so and so I'll stop moaning and merely acknowledge the fact i'm envious that i wasn't there
(Belated!) HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY PARK HILL!..
While you're here check out the mug