ANGRY social media users have been left baffled after a new garden with artificial grass and plastic flowers was unveiled at the Chineham Shopping Centre 

As previously reported, the garden has been installed in the central area near the bandstand, but visitors have been left confused at a sign which reads 'pollinator garden'.

There are fresh flower planters as part of the installation under the sign but residents say they are upset by the plastic flowers and artificial grass surrounding it.

READ MORE: Community garden opens at Chineham shopping centre

The garden was designed so that visitors can enjoy lunch on one of the picnic benches and pick fresh herbs - donated by the local Tesco store - from the herb garden.

The centre has also installed a 'chatter bench' to help combat loneliness. 

Since the Gazette published a story on its installation, residents have taken to Twitter to share their anger and have called for more real wildlife to be placed in the garden.

Andrew Cleave, who lives in Chineham, posted: A "pollinator garden" has appeared outside the Basingstoke branch of Tesco - with plastic flowers and artificial grass. Has someone missed the point?"

READ MORE: Conservationist angry after glow worm destroyed in Old Basing

The tweet has received more than 2,000 likes and has been seen by more than 300,000 people, many of whom replied to the tweet and shared the same view. 

When speaking to the Gazette he said: "It has a nice idea behind it but it is just a shame they didn't think more about it."

He said he thinks it is a lovely place for people to sit but said there are many plants sitting in Tesco that could be put inside the garden.

Many responded to the tweet with one user calling the garden an "iconic monstrosity" and another branding it as "hideous" and "pathetic."

The project was installed by the shopping precinct and is not a Tesco project.

Chris Carter, centre manager at Chineham Shopping, said: "Our Community Garden aims to create an attractive and vibrant area for the local community to enjoy.

"Over the summer we are running free events, as well as inviting the centre’s tenants and local stakeholders to use the area.

"To date, we have hosted a free family event with art being made out of recycled material and invited Hampshire Council’s Waste Champions to share their top tips relating to recycling, as well as hosting an interactive storytelling session run by Chineham Library.

"We also have many more community events planned for this summer, including an event on Saturday, August 5 where children can make their own insect houses to take home.

"Two of the features within the space are a new pollinator planter and herb garden, which help complement the existing, extensive planting that we have in the area.

"We have been encouraging our shoppers to pick the herbs and use them in their cooking, and have worked up an educational backboard which sits behind our colourful pollinator planter, aiming to help educate children about the importance of supporting the local environment.

"When planning installations of this type, we are mindful of the environmental impact of the project.

"The high footfall in the area would make real grass an unsuitable option, however both the artificial grass and the flowers in the decorative archway have been used on previous projects; once the installation is removed later this year, the grass and flowers will be repurposed for other projects.

"Grass which cannot be used in this way will be made into artificial grass furniture. Any further offcuts will be offered to the public free of charge for their own projects typically flooring for sheds, craft activities or dog matting. All of the wooden components of the installation have also been repurposed from previous projects.  Once removed, timber will be used again on other installations."

Chris said he is open to taking all feedback into consideration when planning future installations.