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Sheffield council urged to cut financial ties with Park Hill

Liberal Democrat members have demanded that Sheffield City Council cuts all its financial ties with the multimillion pound regeneration of Park Hill

The party claims the Labour council had promised that local authority costs ‘would not exceed staffs’ wages’ when Urban Splash began its overhaul of the 1960s estate was agreed back in 2005.

But the Liberal Democrats say that since then more than £2.8 million of council spending had gone towards the 2013 Stirling Prize-shortlisted scheme.

Penny Baker, Sheffield Liberal Democrat spokesperson for housing, said: ‘It’s impossible to turn back time and reverse the original decision to approve this costly project. The best route forward is for the first phase to be completed but local taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to write a blank cheque for the development.

‘At a time when the council claimed they’ve been forced to close sports facilities and libraries, it is hard to understand why increased spend on Park Hill has even been given a second’s thought. We need to send a clear message that it’s completely unacceptable for yet more council funds to be blown on this vanity project.’

It was announced last week that regeneration giant Places for People will form a joint venture with Park Hill’s developer Urban Splash, to fit out stages B and C of the 1960s estate.  

Progress on the multiphase scheme had recently faltered and concerns were raised about future stages after Urban Splash posted pre-tax losses of £15.4 million for the year to 31 March 2012.

The proposal for a ban on further spending on the project will be put to a vote at a council meeting later this week.

Previous story (AJ 26.09.13)

Stirling Prize 2013: Regeneration giant sparks life into Park Hill

Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West’s Stirling Prize-shortlisted Park Hill scheme has received a timely boost with a deal that should see construction work restart

Regeneration giant Places for People has confirmed that it will form a joint venture with Park Hill’s developer, Urban Splash, to fit out flanks B and C of the huge Sheffield housing scheme’s first phase.

The signing of the joint venture, first revealed by AJ on 1 August, could not have come at a better time, with the Stirling Prize to be awarded tonight.

It comes after Places for People bought 654 flats elsewhere from Urban Splash at the end of July in a deal worth £77 million.

Places for People chief executive David Cowans said: ‘We are very pleased to be able to work with Urban Splash, initially on the innovative development of Park Hill in Sheffield, and we will be looking at further opportunities to develop schemes within the Urban Splash and Places for People portfolio in the future.’

Urban Splash chairman Tom Bloxham added: “This announcement is great news for Urban Splash. Places for People and Urban Splash have many shared values, and great reputations for regeneration, placemaking and great architecture.

‘Urban Splash has an enviable track record, having developed over 60 schemes and won 348 awards over the past 20 years.’

The Park Hill overhaul is an ambitious attempt to reinvent the 1960s ‘streets in the sky’ scheme.

Progress on the multiphase scheme has recently faltered and concerns were raised about future stages after Urban Splash posted pre-tax losses of £15.4 million for the year to 31 March 2012.

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