Portsmouth's Victoria Park gets new community hub as changes unveiled including popular aviaries

Visitors to a central Portsmouth park will notice some changes after a milestone has been reached in its long-term rejuvenation.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Representatives from Portsmouth City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund gathered in Victoria Park yesterday morning (March 18) to unveil a brand new community hub, which has opened as part of a four-year project to regenerate the greenspace. Also soon to be open is a new children’s play area - which was originally planned to be unveiled alongside the community hub - and a historic fountain currently undergoing maintenance. The work is led by Portsmouth City Council and made possible by a £2.4m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles opened the new community hub planted a commemorative tree for the late queen at Victoria Park in Portsmouth on Monday, March 18, 2024.

Pictured is: The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles and cllr. Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portmouth City Council.

Picture: Sarah Standing The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles opened the new community hub planted a commemorative tree for the late queen at Victoria Park in Portsmouth on Monday, March 18, 2024.

Pictured is: The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles and cllr. Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portmouth City Council.

Picture: Sarah Standing
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles opened the new community hub planted a commemorative tree for the late queen at Victoria Park in Portsmouth on Monday, March 18, 2024. Pictured is: The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles and cllr. Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portmouth City Council. Picture: Sarah Standing

Standing in for Portsmouth City Council leader Steve Pitt, councillor Suzy Horton cut the ribbon to officially open the new building - called The Green House - in a ceremony which also involved laying compost around a tree planted nearby to commemorate the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The compost was made from flowers left at Guildhall Square following her passing.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Speaking at the launch, deputy leader and cabinet member for children, families and education councillor Suzy Horton said: “We’re very excited to be in the new building here, and looking out on the rest of the park - which will be finished soon. The whole park is ‘The People’s Park’, so we want this community building to literally be for the community. Community groups will be able to come and hire the space, and also we will be running events for the community from this space.”

Portsmouth Lord Mayor councillor Tom Coles added: “This park has played a role in the cultural history of the city, including a bandstand, hosting commemorative events and modern events, as well as providing a beautiful green space in the heart of our city. I would like to extend my thanks on behalf of the residents of Portsmouth, the city council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, DM Habens and Arkwood for their collaborative hard work in the regeneration and updating of this space, which will be enjoyed for years to come.”

The aviary in Victoria ParkThe aviary in Victoria Park
The aviary in Victoria Park

It is planned that the current phase of the project will be completed by May 25, and marked with a public opening event to coincide with the park’s 146th anniversary which will be celebrated with a Victorian-themed procession from Guildhall Square. The restoration project is inspired by the original idea of the park as a 'People’s Park'. Its historic monuments are being restored, including the now completed aviary where some of the much-loved resident birds, including a peacock and peahen, have returned. Work to restore the original fountain continues.

Already completed work includes the planting of new trees and a nature area created in the northern quarter, aimed to make the park into a haven for wildlife. The original railings have been restored, with new paths and information signs added.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles opened the new community hub planted a commemorative tree for the late queen at Victoria Park in Portsmouth on Monday, March 18, 2024.

Pictured is: The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles.

Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-6522)The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles opened the new community hub planted a commemorative tree for the late queen at Victoria Park in Portsmouth on Monday, March 18, 2024.

Pictured is: The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles.

Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-6522)
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles opened the new community hub planted a commemorative tree for the late queen at Victoria Park in Portsmouth on Monday, March 18, 2024. Pictured is: The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Tom Coles. Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-6522)

Stuart McLeod, director of England - London and South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Stuart McLeod, director of England - London and South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Stuart McLeod, director of England - London and South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Stuart McLeod, director of England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Victoria Park is the green heart of Portsmouth and is hugely significant both historically and culturally for the city. We’re proud to be supporting its restoration thanks to money raised by National Lottery players and it’s fantastic to see these new spaces officially opened for the community.”

Portsmouth City Council leader councillor Steve Pitt added: "We are delighted to officially open these exciting new community facilities, which I know will be enjoyed for many years to come. Back in 2020, we asked people how they wanted us to improve their park. We had a huge response from 2,500 people which helped shape our plans, and now after much hard work they have been brought to life. Victoria Park has been one of Portsmouth's best-loved social places for well over 100 years and now it's an even more valuable green space for people to enjoy and wildlife to thrive."

The new play area, which will open soon, has been created especially for under-fives, close to the existing older children's play area, with a fort to climb and explore, a swing, sand pit and sensory area.

Find out more about the project and details of the public event on 25 May closer to the time at www.victoriaparkportsmouth.org.uk or by searching Victoria Park Portsmouth on Facebook.

Watch the video embedded in the story to see some of the changes to Victoria Park, including a look inside The Green House.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.