10 years – that’s how long it’ll take to revamp Park Hill flats

Lamentable are the actions of the former Labour Council, as leader of Sheffield City Council Roy Hattersley took some brave decisions in removing the former slums. The mismanagement of the social housing that replaced the slums of our yesterdays with slums in the sky is where the problems have been laid for Park Hill along with the former Kelvin Flats, it is easy to look to residents and shout anti social behaviour as the reasons for these projects failing, it is a lot more complex.

Not everyone will of course agree with the listing of Park Hill, it is not an exclusive in The Sheffield Star, there was always going to be problems with such a big project, for myself the longer it takes to make the grand old lady of streets in the sky well again should be looked upon as a positive, also the fact coun Scriven is at long last not using words such as ugly and grotesque and now working with Urban Splash is a move forward

Over the weekend of the 19/21 WARP celebrated 20 years, on the Saturday night they showed films some that had used Park Hill as a location, over 500 people some who love the forms of Brutalist Architecture, others who will no doubt not have been before, will have seen her in a different light, of course there are problems for those still living there, this is not the fault of the people with social problems but a wider one, just the same as the lamentable failings of the former Labour council, where Kelvin Flats was demolished on a lie, there was nothing wrong with Kelvin Flats, other than the mismanagement which ensured it become another slum.

It is the same with Park Hill, now we could disagree why she was listed, looking back the reasons for the listing was a mistake once more we are told not the whole truth, such as just before it was decided to seek the complete refurbishment, all flats had been fitted with new kitchens, in the empty ruin they wait to be ripped out, instead of looking to pass the blame on to the current and former residents for the failings of Park Hill as The Sheffield Star is suggesting in the lead article of their paper on Tuesday 22nd 2009, the continuation of the sensationalist headlines on page five is full of the same old propaganda of anti working class, it manages to throw in some positives, once again the wider problems of mismanagement are placed with negatives of Druggies along with other such negative stereo types.

It was very much self evident on Saturday night, the uninvited people still living there were kept out by The Police, indeed the current residents only learned of the WARP film night when it was happening, this should have been much a event for those living there, once again the working class are nothing but cannon fodder. Once completed 634 flats will be for sale another 240 for affordable housing 62 of which will on a shared ownership, this is very much the privatisation of public housing agreed and sold to us by the former ruling Labour Party.

The same people that had seen the wholesale demolition of social housing along with their part privatisation under Sheffield Homes the remaining housing stock has been seen some improvement, but we need only look towards Southey Green, the empty wasteland where Woodside once stood, before her demise it had been seen refurbishment it was the so called druggies along with the social problems was the reasons given for that demolition.

Another look at Parson Cross the neighbour of Southey Green tell you of the failings, through the late 1970s right up to and through the 1990s the housing stock of Sheffield has slowly become slums, no lessons have been learnt from the past, instead Sheffield was taken to the brink of bankruptcy due to an on-going disagreement with the former Conservative government, it had no choices left, but place us into further debt with projects like the World Student Games, that we are still paying for, along with Kelvin Flats, the former Hyde Park and now we are paying for Park Hill

as 40 Million of public cash has been given to aid Urban Splash, look towards the Manor the ongoing problems there. Across Sheffield we see the new slums being built such as West One, old ones such as Pitsmoor given a face lift, the social problems of high unemployment and poverty which are the formation of the problems facing not only those on Park Hill but the wider city come from.

The actions of Labour are excluding the very people places like Park Hill was built for, of course it would be cool for the completed flats to be given over for affordable housing and the full cost covered by The Government this returning back Park Hill Flats to the working class, in a city where much of the social housing program of Roy Hattersley has been demolished and lost, there has been some very successful refurbishments programs, we need only look to Norfolk Park, along with Netherthorpe in a city that has lost so much public housing over the years, the loss of Park Hill to the private sector is a grate loss, in these times we are told we have to compromise, perhaps this is one we have to come to terms with, however the anti working class propaganda in The Sheffield Star is just that, and one we should not have to come to terms with.

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