Sunday, 4 September 2011

Slick - National Youth Theatre

About the performance -An epic new play exploring the global waste epidemic, set against a dramatic backdrop in Sheffield. 'Slick' follows 2010's triumphant outdoor spectacular 'S'warm'. A truly unique theatrical experience combining 250 talented young performers, dazzling aerial theatre and choreographed mass-participation performance, staged in Sheffield's iconic Park Hill Estate. This 17 acre site with stunning views over the city, is the perfect setting for the storytelling, and will be transformed to take you on a journey to a new world.

The journey begins at the new spiral staircase in the heart of the Urban Splash development.      National Youth Theatre

For Sale - £90,000

Published on Friday 2 September 2011 The Star - Sheffield Newspaper

It has taken seven years, £14 million of public money and sparked huge controversy - but the first revamped apartments at Park Hill Flats are finally going on the market.

The Star was given a sneak preview of the first of 78 apartments that go on sale next month.
Starting at the bargain price of £90,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, the modern units offer astounding views across Sheffield and light, airy rooms on the edge of the city centre.
But any buyer would be committing to live on a building site for the foreseeable future, Urban Splash development manager Mark Latham admitted.
“Yes it is still a building site, but it is a very nice building site, we hope,” Mr Latham said.
Urban Splash got involved in the regeneration of the 50-year-old grade II* Listed building in 2004 and, after several delays, have overcome huge problems to complete the northernmost wing.
But the 78 finished apartments are a tiny proportion - less than 9 per cent - of the 874 flats that make up the total £146m project. Although 26 of the flats will be offered to former Park Hill tenants as social housing, the developer needs to sell the other 52 units quickly to make the remaining project viable.
Mr Latham said: “There’s no hiding from the fact it’s a large project that will take a long time. But we are in it for the long haul.
“We have always said the hardest thing would be to get the first flats built and occupied. But we have a lot of confidence in what we have to offer.
“We have always felt Park Hill could be a great place to live again.
“It’s an amazing location. It’s set in great parkland, has great transport links, the flats are very generous by modern standards and there are fantastic views.
“It has a very strong identity, although we are well aware that’s not an identity that everybody loves. But there aren’t many places where you can own your own piece of a grade-II* listed building for £90,000.”
The first flats at Park Hill go on sale and the show homes open on October 8 and Urban Splash hopes the first occupants will move in next summer.
Mr Latham said: “If we sell out that will give us confidence to move to the next phase. The rate we proceed from there depends on the rate we sell at.”
Tom Bloxham, chairman of Urban Splash, said: “When Park Hill was originally built there was a belief that architecture improved people’s lives - and it still can. It is an ambitious project that we believe in wholeheartedly.”

Council to fork out £2.5m for Park Hill

Published on Wednesday 24 August 2011 The Star - Sheffield Newspaper

Town Hall bosses have set aside £2.5 million of council money for Sheffield’s controversial Park Hill flats redevelopment after the Government pulled funding.

The decision to dip into the authority’s dwindling coffers has been condemned by opposition Lib Dem councillors, who say a ‘posh’ private housing development should not be bailed out by council tax payers.

Sheffield Council’s Labour administration has earmarked £1.3m this year and £1.2m next year to provide security at Park Hill and rehouse tenants as the scheme progresses. 

The money was previously to be provided by the Government’s Homes and Community Agency, which has withdrawn funding.

Coun Harry Harpham, Labour cabinet member for housing, said "none of the money would go on the redevelopment itself but would be spent on securing the site. There are additional costs relating to the Park Hill site which until recently were paid for by a government grant. These costs include looking after the empty flat blocks, providing security where the blocks are still lived in, funding police patrols and rehousing local residents. There is no question about whether or not these costs should be funded. It is the right thing to do to ensure that the local residents are safe and it is the council’s statutory duty to provide home loss payments to residents who are moving home."

Lib Dem housing spokeswoman Coun Alison Brelsford said "Labour had previously promised no council money would go on the scheme and insisted developers Urban Splash should pick up the extra costs."

She said: “From the start we warned that Park Hill had all the hallmarks of being a Labour Party vanity project that would end up costing local taxpayers. I’m sad to say that we have been proved right. Whilst we controlled the council we ensured that no extra taxpayer’s money was handed over to this project, after Labour signed off the original agreement. But this latest move goes directly against our commitment and Labour’s previous promise. This opens the door for local taxpayers to receive even more bills in future. I’m sure local taxpayers would agree with me that £2.5m would be spent on important local services rather than on posh flats. Labour should demand that Urban Splash picks up this extra cost. It is the shareholders who will be making the profit."

But Coun Harpham said: “This is nothing but political opportunism from the Liberal Democrats, who are again trying to mislead the public. This is not a broken promise by Labour and the Lib Dems know that not a penny of the £2.5m is to be spent on the refurbishment of the Park Hill flats. The Lib Dems also know it would not be reasonable to ask Urban Splash to foot the bill for this as ultimately this is the council’s responsibility.”

Sheffield housing dream is left in ruins

Published on Saturday 13 August 2011 The Star - Sheffield Newspaper

"Three multi-million pound housing schemes in Sheffield including the controversial redevelopment of Park Hill have been hit by a massive government funding cut.

Town Hall bosses are rethinking plans for the redevelopment of Park Hill flats, Arbourthorne Fields housing estate and the Rise S12 project after more than £20m from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency was withdrawn.

The cuts mean:

- The council is now looking to its own depleted coffers to secure Park Hill flats and rehouse remaining tenants, having lost an expected £2.3m.

- The £135 million Rise S12 project to build 1,000 houses on the former Scowerdons, Weakland and Newstead estates in Frecheville and Hackenthorpe is in financial difficulties, after an expected £8m grant was cut.

- Residents living in 200 crumbling homes at Arbourthorne Fields will have to remain in houses for at least another five years, after £10.9m of funding was withdrawn.

Residents today reacted with dismay to the grim news.

One Park Hill resident said: “I’m fuming. They’ve left us on a building site. There’s one lift. It’s disgusting.”

A resident from Newstead estate said: “We didn’t want this development at first, but we just want to see it finished now.”

Arbourthorne resident Shirley Eckhardt, aged 66, whose house was supposed to be knocked down in phase two of the development, said: “Our lives are on hold.

Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “We haven’t got the funds from Government to do what we wanted to do That much is plain.

“But we are committed to making sure that we will use the resources we have to benefit those who need our help the most.

“I’m also very mindful that we have residents living in areas where development has stalled due to funds being withdrawn.

“We are exploring every option available to us to find ways to allow these schemes to continue.”

Coun Harpham said Urban Splash - the company behind Park Hill Flats - is in negotiations to get more funding from the HCA.

“We’re confident they will get the money for Park Hill,” he said.

“So much has been invested and much of the work has been done.”

But a spokesman for Urban Splash said they were ‘carrying on with work as planned’.

Coun Harpham said it was clear the HCA would not be able to continue to fund the Rise S12 or Arbourthorne Fields projects.

He said the funding cut would also mean the cancellation of several proposed schemes to redevelop parks and open spaces.

Opposition council politicians have slammed the Labour council for continuing to prop up the project to redvelop the listed Park Hill Flats.

Lib Dem group leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “At the time when the Park Hill project was dreamt up and signed off by Labour, Lib Dems warned it would end up being yet another Labour white elephant propped up by taxpayers.

“This latest news confirms that our fears are coming true as the private developers are set to go cap in hand to be bailed out by public money, something we can ill afford when money is tight.

“At a time when money should be used to protect front line services like youth centres and libraries it beggars belief that Labour could spend it on converting Park Hill into posh flats, when most Sheffielders would rather see it demolished. Once again Labour’s financial mismanagement has got local taxpayers into a mess.”

Reports are to be submitted to the council’s cabinet in the coming weeks."

Published on Saturday 13 August 2011 The Star - Sheffield Newspaper

Thursday, 23 June 2011

South Street Park


The first phase of the new South Street Park is nearly complete with the "steel steps" running from South Street to the Railway Station Tram stop.


View from the seating terraces across Sheffield's Main Railway Station.




New Mirrored Helical Staircase

A new 70 tonne, mirrored helical staircase has been installed through the core of the Grade II Listed Park Hill flats. A 250 tonne crane was fully extended to it's full reach to lower the 168 step spiral staircase into the void cut through the roof.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Whose Watching You?

The residents of Park Hill are watching over you, these striking art installations have now brightened up the building site which had been left looking rather drab and lifeless for the last few months while a slow process of repairs to the concrete frame take place. By Sheffield artist - Gary Hindley.

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Grenville Squires

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Grenville Squires

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Geoffrey Lindley

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Charlie Lindley
originally uploaded by mikesm.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Sheaf Valley Park - An outdoor amphitheatre for Sheffield

It seems that work has started on Sheaf valley park on the hill behind the station. Possible plans for the park include the design above, which shows an amphitheatre carved out of the hillside. The project will be completed in phases as and when the money becomes available. The good news is that it seems the amphitheatre is included in the first phase:

Earth will be moved to form a level space for events, with a series of seating terraces above where people can enjoy views of Sheffield city centre and beyond. It could look spectacular on a summer evening with the sun setting over the hills opposite and provide a perfect backdrop for live theatre or musical performances…just as long as the trains aren’t too noisy.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Sheaf Valley Park

Work begins this September on a £760,000 project to turn a windswept hillside blighted by litter and junkies into an "exciting" park which will include an ampitheatre to hold outdoor performances of theatre and music, plus a new arboretum.

The project involves the area of open space between Sheffield train station and Park Hill flats, currently grassland with a small number of trees. It is little-used and is frequented by junkies who dump drug paraphernalia.

Sheaf Valley Park - part of a network of parks, woodlands and open spaces extending from Norfolk Heritage Park to the canal basin.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for communities, said: "This is a great opportunity for this area. We don't think there is anything quite like this in Britain, and this project will help cement Sheffield's reputation as the greenest UK city with some of the liveliest city centre events.

"The public have been very enthusiastic about the idea of a City Arboretum during consultation and have suggested some of the trees that we will be planting.

"We also hope the amphitheatre will attract visitors, and local drama groups will have a new stage for their plays."

The ampitheatre will have terraced seating providing spectacular views across the city centre and towards the Peak District.

The arboretum plans involve planting pine trees, spring flowering trees, fruit trees, trees with good autumn colour and evergreens to add colour during the winter. A wildflower meadow is also set to be planted.

Well-lit routes will be created across the hillside, connecting South Street, Shrewsbury Road and the railway station, to improve access for the public.

A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said: "The arboretum will broaden the species of trees in the area to attract wildlife and to give more visual interest throughout the year. Native oak trees will be introduced as a reminder of the days when this land was part of the city's medieval deer park.

"A number of existing chestnut and sycamore trees, identified as diseased or in a poor condition, will be replaced." 

Friday, 16 July 2010