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Park Hill in 'Demolition' fears

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Park Hill in Sheffield will come under the high-profile scrutiny of the increasingly controversial Channel Four television series Demolition, to be screened later this year.

Full details of the programme - which rose to notoriety after its producers gave the public the chance to vote for the building they would most like to see demolished - are now starting to emerge.

In one of four episodes, presenter Kevin McCloud will warn developer Urban Splash, which recently unveiled plans to redevelop the Park Hill housing estate, against the danger of 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater'.

Urban Splash announced its plans for the estate - by Studio Egret West, Hawkins Brown and landscape architect Grant Associates - at a press conference in Sheffield in early October (ajplus 04.10.05).

Although positive about the 'pedigree' of Tom Bloxham's Urban Splash, McCloud is thought to have expressed concerns about the scheme.

McCloud said: 'Urban Splash is pretty authoritative as I see it. But there are all kinds of issues with estates like this.

'I just think Park Hill is a very big chunk to bite off in one go. Bits of it have been emptied, whereas other bits are occupied. It's one big megastructure. Bringing all of that together in one go would be very hard, as is the case with any type of regeneration.

'There are all kinds of people living under bad conditions, people who have got a bum deal but who, after 50 years, make the best they can out of it. Against all odds they manage to make some kind of social glue.

'It's very rough and ready - three different generations of people are living side by side. We can't throw the baby out with the bathwater in the struggle to make something bigger and better.'

The series will focus on engaging the public in a 'sensible dialogue about architecture,' according to a source close to the programme.

Topics discussed will be housing and regeneration, as well as the now-famous public poll which discovered that Enric Miralles and RMJM's Stirling-Prize-winning Scottish Parliament is the building the public would most like to see demolished.

by Rob Sharp

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