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An underused alleyway in Southsea has been given a facelift to make it safer, with better lighting, and more pleasant for people to use.

Belmont path, located between Scoops and Wok’s Wong in Elm Grove, used to be a dark alley where fly tipping was common and bins often blocked the way. It’s now a vibrant, well-lit alleyway with newly-installed CCTV making it a safer for people to walk through, and it’s just getting the finishing touches with a new piece of art work.

Portsmouth City Council and the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner have worked together to redesign areas across the city where high levels of crime have been reported. Belmont Path is one of the areas benefitting from the scheme and this week the new artwork is being unveiled. The path connects Elm Grove with Belmont Street and provides a convenient cut through for parents taking their children to and from Cottage Grove Primary School.

Artist Alex Godwin AKA Billy (centre) with painting partner James, Cllr Chris Attwell, Cllr Lynne Stagg, and Annabel Innes of Form and Function

The artwork has been created by Alex Godwin, who works under the moniker Billy, in collaboration with Form and Function, a local art studio. The idea was developed by working with over 200 local people, including year five students from Cottage Grove Primary School, and local traders.

The design is based on photographs taken by students at Cottage Grove Primary School. The local community then used these photographs to create a set of collages from which the artwork draws inspiration.

These improvements are being delivered in partnership with the Hampshire Police Crime Commissioner, funded through the Home Office’s Safer Streets Three funding. It is one of several initiatives aimed at tackling violence against women and girls in the city. The council has added additional funding using the Community Infrastructure Levy, which can be used to fund community projects of this type.

Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Travel and Transportation, said: “What a wonderful transformation. This once unloved alleyway is now a colourful and safe shortcut, with amazing artwork for everyone to enjoy. It’s a small change that makes the city a nicer place to get around on foot, and that’s all part of our goal of getting people walking more and driving less.”

Cllr Jason Fazackarley, Cabinet Member for Safety in the Community, said: “It’s amazing the difference this fantastic work has made to a cut through that is so useful, especially for parents taking their children to and from school. I’m so pleased to be able to support this work and increase safety for everyone in the city.”

Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This is another important step in making Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a safer place to live, work and visit. Small improvements to environments make a big difference. I will be doing everything I can to help reduce crime in areas that are of concern to local people, and fully support initiatives that increase feelings of safety. The Safer Streets Home Office funding bids, which my office supports, is a huge part of that.”

You can find out more about what the council is doing to reduce crime at