Sheffield’s Kelham Island crowned best neighbourhood in UK 

Kelham Island was named the best neighbourhood in the UK and Ireland 2019
Kelham Island was named the best neighbourhood in the UK and Ireland 2019

Sheffield’s Kelham Island has been crowned the best neighbourhood in the UK and Ireland. 

The former industrial area has been reinvented in recent years to become one of the hippest areas in the country– and now, it’s transformation has earned it the title of best neighbourhood in the UK and Ireland at the 2019 Urbanism Awards.

Kelham Island fought off strong competition from fellow finalists Hack Wick in London and Ancoats in Manchester to bag top spot. 

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The award is one of five given out each year by The Academy of Urbanism, a network of built environment experts from across Europe who recognise Britain and Ireland’s best place, street, neighbourhood and town, as well as Europe’s best city.  

Voted on by its members, the Academy judges against a number of social, economic and environmental factors, including good governance and commercial success. 

The theme of this years Urbanism Awards is ‘post-industrial’ - recognising examples that have transformed themselves into thriving places after suffering from the decline of their predominant industry.

And, visiting the area its easy to see why it has achieved such an accolade – bearing no resemblance to its manufacturing past with its fashionable cafés, bars and modern flats. 

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Lead Assessor, Tim Challans, commended Kelham Island for its retention and creation of industry. “Local authority intervention has ensured the retention has of some long-standing small scale manufacturing industries and crafts and created opportunities for cultural and creative industries and artist studios to develop alongside these without creating tension.”

The assessment team also noted the excellent relationship between the local authority, the community association and businesses in the area with a sense of common purpose; all of which is at the heart of creating a viable and sustainable neighbourhood.

The lack of extreme market pressure has enabled slow organic growth ensuring that the area has developed at a sustainable pace.

This has enabled a strong residential and business community network to develop and become part of the decision making process.

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David Rudlin, chair of the Academy, said: “This is the place where Sheffield’s steel industry started which after a few false starts is now fully in the process of regeneration. It is a place where conservation of its historic fabric sits along side cutting edge architecture and innovative new housing.”

Past winners of the The Great Neighbourhood award include Ashley Vale in Bristol, Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham and Sheffield’s Devonshire Quarter.

In 2017 Kelham Island was named in the top ten coolest place in Britain – earning eighth spot in TravelSupermarket’s Hip Hangout Neighbourhood Index, which showcases the most up-and-coming neighbourhoods in the UK and Europe.

2019 Urbanism Awards finalists (winners in italics):

European city of the year

Leipzig, Germany

Nantes, France

Zurich, Switzerland

The great town award

Barnsley, South Yorkshire

Chelmsford, Essex

Paisley, Renfrewshire

The great neighbourhood award

Ancoats, Manchester, England

Hackney Wick, London, England

Kelham Island, Sheffield, England

The great street award

Argyle Street, Glasgow, Scotland

Kirkgate, Leeds, England

South William Street, Dublin, Ireland

The great place award

Granary Square, London, England

Kilmainham Civic Space, Dublin, England

Maritime Quarter, Swansea, Wales