Picture Post: The sun shines on Sheffield’s renovated Park Hill flats

Park Hill estate, in Sheffield, was built between 1957 and 1961, and in 1998 was given Grade II*-listed building status.

Wild Flowers at Park Hill Flats, Sheffield. Picture: Simon Hulme
Wild Flowers at Park Hill Flats, Sheffield. Picture: Simon Hulme

Following a period of perceived decline, the estate is being renovated by developers Urban Splash into a mostly private mixed-tenure estate made up of homes for market rent, private sale, shared ownership, and student housing while around a quarter of the units in the development will be social housing.

Phase 1 of Park Hill features 260 homes and 10,000 sq ft of workspace. The renovation was one of the six short-listed projects for the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize.

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The estate falls within the Manor Castle ward of the City. Park Hill is also the name of the area in which the flats are sited.

The name relates to the deer park attached to Sheffield Manor, the remnant of which is now known as Norfolk Park.

The estate was initially popular and successful. But Government restrictions on how potential tenants were allocated to flats and the limitations of the fabric of the building which decayed when not adequately maintained, poor noise insulation and resident security caused their popularity to wane.

For many years, the council found it difficult to find tenants for the flats.

But the complex remained structurally sound, unlike many system-built blocks of the era, and was the largest listed building in Europe.

The decision to list the estate was controversial at the time and it continues to attract criticism.

Sheffield City Council hoped this would attract investment to renovate the building, but this was not initially forthcoming.

A part-privatisation scheme by the developer Urban Splash in partnership with English Heritage to turn the flats into upmarket apartments, business units and social housing is well now underway. The council has created a new public park, South Street Open Space, between the railway station and Park Hill.

This includes a series of seating terraces and new planting areas.

Technical details: Picture taken on a Nikon D5 camera ,12-24mm lens, exposure 250th sec at f16, iso 400