The later phase of Sheffield’s Park Hill flats regeneration, including 330 student housing units by student specialist developer Alumno Developments, is expected to cost £20 million. We were instructed to undertake a tree survey for planning to assist in the regeneration works.
Built between 1957-61 by the Corporation of Sheffield (the fore-runner of the modern-day Sheffield City Council), Park Hill is a landmark on the Sheffield city skyline, the largest listed building in Europe and widely regarded as a nationally and internationally significant milestone in the history of mass social housing.
Loved and loathed in equal measure for its brutalist concrete modernist design, Park Hill was nonetheless a place where many people lived happy lives, but by the late 1990s it was facing huge problems of crime, drugs and lack of maintenance. Fast forward to 2017 and Phase 1 is now complete, including 260 homes, 10 contemporary workspaces and the new Grace Owen Nursery. Around 600 people now live and work at Park Hill, the public realm has been reshaped, with a completion date of 2022 for the entire project.
We were instructed to undertake a detailed tree survey for planning purposes for the new phase of the site. This included accurately mapping and valuing the trees and providing an assessment of their condition. In line with the age of the scheme the site did not have any very mature or veteran specimens; however, collectively the trees form high value landscape features within the development area. The surrounding trees provided an excellent real-world example of how they soften the hard-built surrounding ‘brutalist’ structures. Looking up from within the courtyards, the trees also frame the large domineering flats and add to the dramatic backdrop. After the last phase of the site becomes fully developed the trees will become more visually prominent for the new residents and their visual amenity value will increase further, helping to provide a real sense of place to the site.