Local artist will design underpass

Denise Hughes (https://www.eastleigh.gov.uk/)

Denise Hughes (pic EBC)

Eastleigh Borough Council has commissioned local artist Denise Hughes to design a tiled mural for the underpass – a busy pedestrian and cycle route which runs under the M3 and links Velmore to the Nightingale School, Aviary Estate and Fleming Park, including the Leisure Centre and the Pavilion on the Park.

The makeover project is being supported by Eastleigh Local Area Committee and First Wessex Housing Association and is intended to brighten up the underpass and provide a more welcoming route through the park.

Artist and illustrator Denise, who works from her studio at The Sorting Office in Eastleigh town centre, has already started work on the new design. Once completed, it will feature a landscape of the parkland, with the Velmore Community Centre at one end and Fleming Park Leisure Centre at the other.

Denise will also be involving local children in the design process, with two FREE upcoming workshops at the Velmore Community Centre. The workshops, open to children of all ages, will focus on creating flowers, bees and butterflies, many of which will be featured in the meadow section of the mural.

Councillor Steve Sollitt, Acting Chair of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee, said: “The underpass is a popular route for walkers and cyclists, and making it more attractive for all local residents and users of the park is an important element in the major improvements the council is bringing to the wider parkland environment.  Promoting a sense of ownership among local children should mean that the underpass becomes a source of community pride – and less likely to be vandalised. The children will benefit hugely from working with Denise, who is an excellent artist.”

The underpass project is one of a series of initiatives being delivered following extensive consultation undertaken in 2014. Other projects have included a new all- weather trail, benches, bins and interpretation boards, habitat restoration, and later this year there are plans to replace two of the bridges, making them more suitable for cycle, wheelchair and buggy access.

Speaking about the project, Denise said:  ‘The underpass could certainly benefit from an exciting ‘makeover’, and what I’m really hoping is that people will be able to enjoy the design and feel safer there.

‘I’m hoping that the mural will lighten and brighten the underpass, and make it fit in better with the area better, because the surroundings are now so lovely around the parkland development.”

‘The area has been subject to graffiti in the past so I wanted to get the community involved in the project in the hopes they’ll really look after it.’

Denise’s free drop- in workshops take place on the 11 and 18 of February at the Velmore Community Centre in Falkland Road, Chandler’s Ford between 1 -3pm, no bookings necessary, just turn up on the day.