PROTESTERS have dressed up as bees and butterflies to rebel against a 'pollinator garden' which has been made of artificial grass and flowers 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 by 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.

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.

Basingstoke Gazette:  Plastics Rebellion group at the garden Plastics Rebellion group at the garden (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: Chineham Shopping Centre: Plastic community garden causes confusion

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.

Now a group of protesters who are called the Plastics Rebellion have also taken a stand against the plastic garden by holding a protest at the space on Friday, August 4.

They dressed up as bees and butterflies as they took over the space for the afternoon.

Diana McCann, a volunteer for the group, said: "We are here today in Basingstoke to really highlight the irony of having a so-called pollinator garden, which is advertised as an arch of plastic flowers and plastic grass.

"The only tiny little patch of real garden is the small planter which I haven't yet seen a bee buzzing around. We wanted to try and draw attention to the fact that this is a huge irony really."

Basingstoke Gazette:  Plastics Rebellion group at the garden Plastics Rebellion group at the garden (Image: Newsquest)

Ed Allnutt, coordinator and volunteer for the group, added: "We are here because of this big expanse of icky plastic grass. We think that something that describes itself as a pollinator garden shouldn't be made of plastic. As a result, we have dressed up as bees and pollinators. 

"I would love it if it created a bit of local debate over how we should value our public spaces and how we should make spaces that actually benefit pollinators."

READ MORE: Community garden opens at Chineham shopping centre

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.

Basingstoke Gazette:  Plastics Rebellion group at the garden Plastics Rebellion group at the garden (Image: Newsquest)

"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.

Basingstoke Gazette:  Plastics Rebellion group at the garden Plastics Rebellion group at the garden (Image: Newsquest)

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

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"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.