THE keenly awaited launch of a new £17m “urban village” in Hull is part of a wave of new high-quality schemes which could eventually see up to 10,000 new residents living in the city centre, according to a senior planner.
Hundreds of people are expected at the launch of the Wykeland Beal development in the Fruit Market on January 20 and 21, when the first details will be revealed of the 101 new homes. Formerly home to one of the nation’s oldest street-based fruit, veg and flower markets, the Fruit Market has undergone a multi-million-pound regeneration, with a host of new businesses opening over the past 18 months.
Developers at Wykeland Beal have said the scheme, mostly two and three-storey townhouses and duplex apartments, is “unlike anything seen previously in Hull and East Yorkshire” and interest has been “huge”.
More than 2,000 people have already registered their interest in buying.
The council’s target is for 2,500 new homes in the city centre over a 15-year period, housing between 5,000 and 10,000 people. Across the rest of the Fruit Market, the plan is for 150 new homes on land including in mixed-use schemes earmarked for the sites once occupied by Pepi’s bar and the Bonus site, between Myton Bridge and the new C4Di complex.
The council’s city planning manager Alex Codd said the 2,500-homes figure was now a “realistic ambition”, adding: “The interesting change in dynamic is there is a definite shift to a much higher-quality provision in the city centre, which is to do with the investment in the public realm, in the Ferens, the New Theatre and jobs at Green Port Hull. There’s a real strengthening of demand for businesses and residences.
“The difference now is that we have a very clear plan and strategy; secondly there has been a significant amount of public and private investment, and thirdly we are finding landowners and developers are coming to us with intentions of what they want to do.
“These are strong signals and it is probably the first time the city has had the three dynamics coming together.”
Last year’s UK City of Culture celebrations have been credited with sparking investor interest, with chartered surveyor Garness Jones reporting a total of 237,210 sq ft selling for just more than £9.5m in the 12 months since late 2016.
Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce’s president Phil Ascough said: “I remember the old Humber Dock, which is now the Marina, being full of mud and nothing going on.
“People tried to do it with Pepis and Tropical Knights, but it never took off.
“This (the Wykeland Beal scheme) is on a completely different scale. It is definitely a game-changer for the city. I think it will be a fantastic place to live – it is the Humber Riviera.”