Park Hill: Looking Back, Moving Forward
Raymond Kinsella, Regional Manager at Great Places Housing Group:
Could you tell us a bit about Great Places and its relationship with Park Hill?
Great Places (then Manchester Methodist Housing Association) were selected as the affordable housing partner for the Park Hill regeneration project in 2004. Great Places Housing Group is one of the largest developing housing associations in the north, working to improve the lives of the thousands of people living in its portfolio of over 19,000 homes. We provide almost 100 homes for rent and shared ownership in Phase 1; alongside 160 leaseholders this is now a vibrant mixed tenure, mixed income community.
What classes as affordable housing in 2018?
Affordable housing can be either housing for sale such as shared ownership (which we have at Park Hill) or housing for rent. The general formula for setting rents is 80% the value of market rents therefore affordable rents are anything up to around 80% of market rents for any given area. Affordable rents with Great Places are approximately 65-71%.
In what ways do you work with the local community?
Great Places worked with residents to set up the Park Hill Residents Association and we routinely work with them. As a new community, the residents of Park Hill want to be heard and they want to participate in influencing the services provided by us and engage with other service providers concerning the local environment and amenities. For them, being heard gives them recognition and legitimacy. We have encouraged and supported residents with advice, funding and publicity materials and have helped organise things by supporting residents to host formal and informal meetings.
What do you think makes Park Hill such a special place?
Park Hill has gone through significant changes over the years, falling out of favour on many occasions and for some serving as a reminder of the true meaning of community in its heyday. However, in recent times it has emerged triumphant and proud thanks to the regeneration partnership that still believes in the original concept. Its renaissance brings colour and life to the area and hope for the city. It is by proxy a bringer of life; the spirt of Park Hill lies within the many interactions and activities performed by the people who live here – it’s their energy that breathes life into this building and gives rise to community.
Next: Richard Bolam, ex-resident, artist and media producer