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A Somerstown artist is painting an impressive Somerstown-themed 30-metre mural on the site boundary hoardings surrounding a tower block Portsmouth City Council is bringing down.

Skyla Swan, a computer animation student at the University of Portsmouth, grew up yards from the Horatia House site.

Skyla has designed a mural that celebrates her local area and she is now painting it along the Park Street stretch of the deconstruction site.

Artist Skyla Swan stands next to her artwork on a construction site hoarding

Skyla, whose Instagram handle is #SouthseaOceanArtist, said: “The artwork is really important to me because I feel that it brightens up the community I live in.

“When growing up in the area, I know I would have loved to see pieces like this. It would have made me enjoy spending time here, and I’m hoping to inspire more artwork to be created around Somerstown.”

The council is appealing for more local artists, schools, charities and community organisations to come forward to work with them to decorate the hoardings with local artwork. The hoardings will also include the Somerstown Self-Portrait Gallery which will include nearly 650 self-portraits by local children and adults.

Cllr Darren Sanders, cabinet member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness, said: “It’s so important to us that the local community is involved in every stage of this project, and that local people see themselves reflected in it.

“This is a great opportunity for us to celebrate Somerstown’s character and identity, something that we aim to continue throughout the planned developments.”

If you would like to get involved in adding artwork to the Horatia and Leamington Houses site boundary hoardings; please email molly.penney@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

Horatia House, in Meriden Road, will start to come down this autumn, and the first panels will start to come off Leamington House, in Earlsdon Street, in spring 2022. Both blocks will be down late next summer.

The council has said that it wants to improve the site, and the wider area, for the people who live there, after the blocks have come down. The council has said it will create a high quality, sustainable, mixed-use urban neighbourhood and a community panel is helping the design team to put together plans for the future development.

The panel – which is at the centre of both the deconstruction and redevelopment projects – includes local people, resident groups, businesses and charities from Somerstown and the surrounding area. The group has been meeting every month since March 2021. If you would like to join the community panel; call Tim Raw on 07901 100537 or email tim.raw@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

The council has also hosted lighting workshops, public open drop-in sessions and play and plant events in the area surrounding the blocks this summer to find out how people want the area improved.

Go to www.horatialeamington.portsmouth.gov.uk to find out more about the project, watch project info and event videos and to find every report, and every document, relating to the deconstruction and redevelopment.