Residents add plants to their homes to create Portsmouth's first 'wild street'

ECO-CONSCIOUS residents in one city road have come up with some innovative ways to boost biodiversity with the aim of becoming Portsmouth's first 'green corridor.'

By Fiona Callingham
Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:23 pm

Several families along Francis Avenue in Southsea have started adorning their homes and forecourts with additional plants and bird or bug boxes to encourage wildlife to thrive in an otherwise urban area.

Launched through Wilder Portsmouth, as part of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust's Wilder 2030 project in partnership with the Southern Co-op, it is hoped thousands of residents will consider adding greenery to their homes.

Francis Avenue resident Laura Mellor, with the help of daughters Robyn and Eve, first championed the idea in her road.

The bin shelter in Francis Avenue Picture Laura Mellor

The 42-year-old now has a custom-made wheelie bin shelter, created as a community project by members of Portsmouth's youth offending team, in her forecourt that is built to hold plants.

She said: 'The idea is to make Francis Avenue into a green corridor.

'We don't have big gardens or much green space but if everyone utilises the space they have, by using it for plants and creating green surfaces we can encourage birds, bees and other insects in the area.

'We've now got a bin shelter there which is really a high table that we can put plants on the top of like herbs and winter plants.

The bug hotel in Francis Avenue. Picture Andy Ames

'It doesn't seem like much but if everyone does it it can make a difference.'

Residents in the road have also pledged to help any elderly or disabled neighbours to add plants to their gardens.

And the nearby Trinity Methodist Church has installed a home for insects, known as a bug hotel, outside.

Hannah Terrey, director of engagement at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said the reception to the wild street scheme was starting to gather momentum.

The bin shelter in Francis Avenue. From left, Eve Mellor, Robyn Mellor and Lucy Piper. Picture: Laura Mellor

'Since we've launched there's been a lot of interest around the area including in Petersfield and Winchester,' she said.

'The wild streets are part of the wider strategy.

'This is our 10 year plan to try to tackle the huge challenges we are facing globally and nationally.

'We think that if one in four people work on the side of nature it will make a huge difference.'

Tamworth Road in Milton is being considered as the next wild street.