Here I decided to continue with the theme of disparity and my research area of uses by looking into the available green and open spaces within Southsea vs Fratton.
Open spaces are integral to our quality of life as places to enjoy sport and recreation, to gather and appreciate the benefits of being outdoors. Green spaces are not only important for our health and wellbeing, but also for our environment: to conserve the biodiversity of our natural flora and fauna, and to help mitigating the effects of climate change. 91% of Portsmouth make use of local parks. The first public park in Portsmouth was Victoria Park, called the people’s park when it opened on 25th May 1878. It covers 15 acres and has fine specimen trees unlike the pocket parks that have been trying to emerge in the city. Green spaces don’t have to be that big to be of benefit. Green spaces offer people a sanctuary away from the business of the city to relax and spend time together. However, not all communities in Portsmouth have such easy access to usable space. The problem in Fratton is not that it does not have vast open gren spaces like Southsea but more that there are not as many accesible or frequently placed areas. Existing pocket parks are used for everything from a quiet escape from busy city life to physical exercise, growing vegetables, children’s play and community events; they can include trees, shrubs, sensory areas, raised beds and benches. Introducing more into Fratton would be of great benefit. A Pocket Parks project is being run by Emma Loveridge, lead gardener at Treadgolds Community Garden, supported by volunteers. Twenty-three volunteers met at Sea Mills Gardens, Portsea, on Saturday 28 September 2019, planting fruit trees, spring bulbs and wild flowers. Two more pocket park gardens are to be planted soon at Three Tuns Close, in Portsea, and Victoria Street Park, Landport. Fratton yearns for more attention. Community can be a large driving factor for development and change with comunities taking it upon themselves to force change when the council put their efforts elsewhere. Community orchards and planting trees have been created in the Cornwallis Crescent, a previously derelict site since being bombed on August 24th, 1940. It sits in the middle of a built up area. Planting began on March 12th 2016 and have 40+ fruit trees. Another set or orchards have been planted following closely the Charles dickens birthplace trail. This is part of a masterplan to plant fruit trees throughout the city.
Families in Portsmouth are less likely to have a garden than most places in the country and are less likely to be able to spend time outdoors amid the pandemic especially as new data (2020) showed fewer city homes have gardens than the rest of the country. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that only 86% of dwellings in the city have access to a garden, placing it as 312th out of 370 council areas in Great Britain. When broken down into neighbourhoods it showed Fratton West and Portsea had the lowest number of gardens - 57% - and they were on average 103.8m2 in size. With next to none pocket parks in Fratton this is an issue. Kingston Park is the only real green space within Fratton and is situated next to Kingston Cemetry towards the East side. The area of Southsea around Haslemere Road had the most number of gardens - 99% - but they were only sized 53.9m2. Just outside of Portsmouth shows the great disparity. In Fareham there was 94% with 330.2m2, Gosport was 90% with 174.9m2 and Havant was 91% with 278.1m2.