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".
Over the years the estate has been home to 31 shops, 4 pubs, 74 garages, a primary and a nursery school, doctor's surgery and pharmacy. The shops were set at the lowest point of the estate, to which people were thought to naturally gravitate. 4 pubs and a launderette were more widely dispersed at points on the ground near lifts.
In 1998 Park Hill was listed as Grade II* by the then Department of Culture, Media 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.
In 2003, in conjunction with English Partnerships (the national regeneration agency: Homes and Communities Agency), we began to put together a vision for the future of Park Hill, to achieve:
A vibrant, mixed tenure estate with owner occupation, rented and affordable for sale properties along with high quality retail and commercial premises.
A mixed tenure, mixed use transformation of Park Hill as a fashionable city centre address.
Surveys commissioned at the time showed the need for a reduction in our rented units on the estate. The partners proposed a split in the number of units to 1/3 social rented, 1/3 market sale and 1/3 commercial space.
In 2004, an advert was placed to select a Registered Social Landlord and Developer partner. Great Places Housing Group (formerly known as Manchester Methodist Housing Group) and Urban Splash were selected.
In partnership with our Council Housing services, we have shown our commitment to the project by beginning to re-house residents. This will provide the developer with empty blocks which can be handed over in phases.
The first empty phase that has been handed over was the largest block which overlooks the Park Square roundabout.
Most of the funding will come from developer Urban Splash. However, the public sector will contribute the following:
Transform South Yorkshire, the Government’s former Housing Market Renewal Agency, will provide £13m to cover enabling costs, including home-loss payments to residents, security and the demolition of non listed buildings and to contribute towards the gap funding needed to make the project viable.
The Homes and Communities Agency is providing £14m for gap funding and £10m to provide 200 units for rent and 40 for shared ownership. Great Places will also contribute £10m to this.
English Heritage is providing £0.5m for specialist concrete repairs.
In 2006 Urban Splash submitted an application for outline planning permission. The plans include proposals for:
Retail and leisure facilities
High quality public and private spaces
Around 580 flats for sale on the open market
Flats for rent and low cost home ownership
In 2007 Urban Splash then submitted their detailed planning application for Phase 1. It sets out proposals for:
257 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
We started to move the existing tenants out of Park Hill in December 2003.
The North Block, the 13 storey block overlooking the town centre, was the first to be emptied.
Phases 2, 3 and 4 are all empty and secured and we are in the process of moving people out of phase 5.
Tenants who have lived in their flat for more than one year are entitled to homeless and disturbance payments and are awarded a rehousing priority so that they can bid for properties across the city.
In summer 2006 Park Hill junior school was closed, as the numbers of pupils was falling. This building along with the shops and Area Housing Office were all demolished in 2007.