A planning application has been submitted for more than 100 high-quality homes as part of a newly-created urban village in Hull’s Fruit Market.
The plans have been submitted by Wykeland Beal who are working in partnership with Hull City Council.
The application says the Fruit Market is “an extraordinary site located within this historic quarter, characterised by a diverse range of form, scale, use and character” and adds: “The time is now right for the successful regeneration and rejuvenation of a key area within the city, to make it an area to be proud of once again”.
The new homes will be mostly townhouses and arranged over two and three storeys, blending traditional and contemporary styles using different bricks, design details and colours to create what the architects describe as “a modern and visually stimulating interpretation of the history and heritage of the Fruit Market”.
The £17m investment includes the reinstatement of two historic squares – Scott’s Square an Horner’s Square – which had been lost due to demolition in the area. Horner’s Square dates back to at least the mid-1800s while records show Scott’s Square was created from 1757 by local builder Joseph Scott who constructed cottages in the narrow passage between Humber Street and Blanket Row.
Restoring these historic squares will create pedestrian links between the new homes and the heart of the Fruit Market in Humber Street.
The plans are for 109 one, two and three bedroom homes arranged in mews style around private courtyards in four blocks. Three of the blocks are bounded by Queen Street, Humber Street and Blanket Row, while the other is to the north of Blanket Row, on land bounded by Finkle Street, Queen Street and the A63 Castle Street.
Most of the area proposed for housing is undeveloped and currently used for car parking or compounds for the extensive programme of public realm improvements across Hull city centre.
The application says the plans offer an opportunity to re-connect the city to an “important heritage asset” while creating new homes for people to live in the Fruit Market will improve the viability of commercial units in the area.
As well as the residential development, the application includes four rebuilt commercial units fronting on to Humber Street, either side of Horner’s Square, described as being suitable for small retail units, restaurants or cafés.
Richard Havenhand, director of Framework Architects, who has designed the residential development, said it was not a “single signature” approach.
He said: “There are seven or eight core types of properties in terms of their footprint, but there are subtle variations in design, materials and colour which give each building its own individual style in order to create a rich and varied street frontage.
“These are homes for today and the future, fit for contemporary living, that present a modern and visually stimulating interpretation of the history and heritage of the Fruit Market.
“That is achieved by the selection of materials, the reinforcement of local details, the scale and proportion of the buildings and the look and feel of the street scenes. The design is absolutely bespoke to the location.”
The residential development is a key part of the rejuvenation of Hull’s cultural and creative quarter being driven forward by the joint venture company formed by regeneration leader Wykeland Group and residential developer Beal Homes, in partnership with Hull City Council.
Commenting on the submission of the planning application, Richard Beal, chairman and managing director of Beal Homes, said the key to the plans were that they were deliverable.
Mr Beal said: “The proposals are born out of the passion to create something truly distinctive in a very special area of Hull by two local companies each with almost 50 years of experience delivering high-quality developments in the city and wider region.
“We are proposing something that can and will be delivered. This is an achievable and sustainable scheme to create an urban village with a unique character and appeal.
“We’ve worked really closely with the city council to develop proposals that we believe will realise the full potential of the Fruit Market as a unique, vibrant, cultural quarter where people live, work and play.”
Coun Steven Bayes, Hull City Council Portfolio Holder for Visitor Destination, said: “These plans have been worked up very carefully between the council and Wykeland Beal, to ensure the essence of the Fruit Market runs through not just Humber Street, but the residential area too.
“We have already invested heavily to ensure that the industrial heritage and integrity that makes the Fruit Market distinctive has been properly recognised and restored.
“I believe the end result will help to put the area on the map as one of Hull’s unique cultural gems and, if approved, the plans for these homes will prove very popular.
“The Fruit Market is incredibly important to Hull’s growing cultural sector, and the council, alongside Wykeland Beal, are committed to ensuring it maximises its potential”.
The plans have been influenced by a week-long public exhibition held at Kingston Art Gallery on Humber Street when the vision for the Fruit Market was first communicated as well as three pre-application meetings with planning committee members. The application is also consistent with Hull’s new Local Plan which proposes 2,500 new homes in the centre of Hull by 2032.
Subject to the granting of planning consent, construction of the Fruit Market residential development is expected to start towards the end of 2016, with all the homes due to be delivered by 2019.
Submission of the planning application comes just weeks after Wykeland Beal revealed its vision for the £80m transformation of the area, new branding for the Fruit Market and “Produce of Hull” brand message. The vision is illustrated by a video produced by Nova Studios, the Hull film-makers behind the “This City Belongs To Everyone” video used in Hull’s successful City of Culture bid, which can be viewed at www.fruitmarkethull.co.uk
The Fruit Market has been an area of economic activity for 200 years and was the centre of Hull’s wholesale fruit and vegetable trade until 2009. In recent years it found a new role as the heart of the city’s vibrant festival scene and as an artistic and cultural hub.
The latest plans build on a wave of investment, including Wykeland’s £15m @TheDock development, which features the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub and Stage @TheDock, a 350-seat amphitheatre, currently under construction. In recent years the Fruit Market’s resurgence has attracted a host of new businesses, such as the award-winning 1884 Dock Street Kitchen restaurant, and the area is now home to 70 companies employing hundreds of people.