Hundreds of Somers Town residents took part in the free play and plants session held by Portsmouth City Council to learn more about development proposals for Horatia and Leamington Houses – which will be taken down and replaced with new council housing.
As part of the event held in in Melbourne Place and Atherstone Walk, interactive models for both adults and children were used to show the architects how they'd like their new neighbourhood to look. And landscape architects Studio ONB planted a permanent wildflower meadow in the middle of the two towers demonstrate how wilding could help the neighbourhood.
Ann Ray, from Longbridge House and member of the Horatia and Leamington Houses community panel, said: ‘I was a bit apprehensive at first but now I'm really excited about what's going on.
‘They've already started on Horatia House, with the scaffolding going up, so let's get on with it.’
A team of play experts from the council's Somers Town Adventure Playground also helped young visitors build their own dens with wooden pallets and oil drums and staff from the council's Play Youth Community service ran DJ workshops.
Local mum Olivia Abdul said: ‘It's just lovely to get out in the local community - there's so much to do with the kids and it's good to see what's going to be happening with the space.’
The council's director of regeneration, Tristan Samuels, added: ‘For me it's a real example of what good development looks like - development that happens with the people rather than to the people.
‘These people are now engaged and thinking about what the outcomes might be for them and that's got to be a real positive.
‘Hopefully, in the final development, they will recognise bits that they tried to influence and bits that they were able to change and shape.’
Deconstruction of the buildings is currently underway and is expected to take until next summer.
The community panel has been meeting once a month and is at the centre of the deconstruction and redevelopment project. To join call development delivery manager Mary Devaney on 023 9284 1791 or email [email protected]