Park Hill Q&A with UrbanSplash

Whether you love or hate its concrete cliffs and 'streets in the sky' design, there's no denying Park Hill Flats forms a central part of the Sheffield landscape.


It's the largest listed building in Europe, with infrequent appearances on telly and radio as well as a guest staring role in Arctic Monkeys View from the Afternoon video – and thanks to developers UrbanSplash, it's about to take its place back in the spotlight as the curtain is drawn back on the first tranche of redeveloped flats.
Everyone's got an opinion on this substantial city project and Urban Splash themselves are aware of the 'marmite' nature of the flats but we were still were delighted when Development Manager for the project, Mark Latham, agreed to take questions from Exposed readers and posters at Sheffield Forum. 
Trying to keep to the 'streets in the sky' principles while bringing the complex into the 21st century is just one of the challenges facing the developers but Mark answers questions on everything from the project's affordable housing requirement to public value for money and there's no soft questions. Thanks to Mark for answering everything put to him. 
From theripsaw via Sheffield Forum: How is the affordable housing requirement distributed amongst the development, and what is the difference between these and 'regular' units?
The affordable housing is mixed throughout the scheme.  All residents will share the same facilities in terms of entrances, lifts and so on.
The apartments for sale and the social housing apartments have some differences in terms of internal fitout, such as kitchen work units, bathroom fittings and floor finishes. This is the result of the housing management company, Great Places Housing Group’s consultations with their residents.
In addition to the social rented homes, there will be homes for sale via assisted ownership (such as shared equity or shared ownership) to help people who would like to buy their own home but cannot afford to buy outright.  These apartments will be the same specification as apartments for outright sale.

From Mikes10 via Sheffield Forum: What council-tax band are the 'Apartments' in?
Council tax bands are not established until the apartments are complete.
If you are buying a flat presumably you are actually buying a lease, how long is the lease?
The buyer purchases a long lease (249 years). The freehold is retained by Sheffield City Council. There is no ground rent payable to ensure Park Hill is as affordable to live in as possible.
Who are the managing agents?
Great Places Housing Group will be the managing organisation. They currently manage over 15,000 properties with 2000 of these in Sheffield.
chem1st via Sheffield Forum: Parkhill was initially built for £2million back in 1961, taking into account RPI inflation that represents a sum of £34.7 million today, taking into account GDP Per capita inflation, that's £90.3 million today. Do you believe the £146 million part privatisation offers the public value for money?
The regeneration of Park Hill is a long term project to bring a large area of the city (over 35 acres) back into use.
The regeneration of Park Hill is not on a like-for-like basis – the new specification is considerably higher than the original, Building Regulations are more onerous and therefore in order to comply, the investment required is higher, and in addition there has been a significant focus on improving the landscaping and the utilisation of high quality materials.
It is also important to outline that the majority of the Park Hill re-development will be private funding (around £115m) from Urban Splash, Great Places Housing Group and other funding sources.

ECFS1 via Sheffield Forum: Are Urban Splash willing to use local firms from Sheffield rather than Leeds, where they are from, to finish this project?
Although the head office of Urban Splash is in Manchester (not Leeds) we also have many regional offices and sites across the country. We regularly use local companies, suppliers and resources with the appropriate skills and experience wherever possible.
jojothecool via Sheffield Forum: Is the surrounding area going to be given money for development?
The surrounding areas are already going through many improvements. Urban Splash is also supporting the Sheaf Valley Park being developed by Sheffield City Council. The landscape around the first phase of Park Hill is also a great indicator of how the whole Park Hill area will be transformed once complete.
Find out more about the Park Hill Flats redevelopment at the Urban Splash website. 


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