The South Devon Link Road project team has announced that a set of six hand carved benches are complete and set to be installed over the next few months.
When the project began a number of trees along the route had to be removed before construction could begin.
Devon County Council and Torbay Council, along with the construction company Galliford Try, worked with schools and the local community to gather ideas on how to use the larger pieces of timber.
The six benches, carved by local artist Mic Chambers will be located at strategic points in South Devon. Galliford Try commissioned the artist to create the six benches.
Although the benches were completed earlier this year, work has been continuing behind the scenes to confirm the exact locations and make arrangements for installation.
This process is now complete. Each bench will be placed in the communities along the route of the South Devon Link Road in the following locations over the next few months.
- Decoy Park in Newton Abbot
- Courtenay Park in Newton Abbot
- Church Meadow in Kingskerswell
- Kerswell Downs in Kingskerswell
- The Willows in Torquay
- Preston House Gardens in Paignton
Mic, well known for the ‘Big Tree’ sculpture in Paignton, has also created a selection of large crosscut slices, which have been distributed to schools in the area for use as an educational tool. The recipients are Decoy Primary, Denbury Primary, St Joseph’s Primary, Bearne’s School and Bradley Barton Primary School, both in Newton Abbot, and St Margaret Clitheroe School in Brixham.
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “When the trees were removed we were sent many ideas on how to best use the timber. Together with our Community Liaison Group we chose this idea, because it will ensure a legacy for the whole community for generations to come.”
Gordon Oliver, Mayor of Torbay said: “This is an important and exciting step. It’s a wonderful way of recycling the timber for the benefit of people throughout the area.”
Chris Hastings, Project Director at Galliford Try, said: “Throughout this project we’ve adopted a strong sustainable ethos within a minimal waste and low carbon policy. This has been reflected in the project receiving a gold Green Apple Award at the recent Houses of Parliament ceremony. We are glad we have been able to find a use for these large tree trunks which we hope will provide a place of rest and contemplation for years to come. “
County and District Councillor for Bovey Ward, George Gribble, said: "What a lovely idea to involve local people in the creation of these benches for use by generations to come.
"They will be such a welcome addition to Decoy and Courtenay, two of our Green Flag award winning parks and they help mark the importance of this road for the economy of Teignbridge."
Devon County Councillor for Newton Abbot South and Teignbridge District Councillor for Buckland and Milber, Gordon Hook said: "When so many trees disappeared in the early stages of construction there was disappointment that such outstanding environmentally beneficial landmarks had gone. I am pleased that the trees will form a permanent reminder by the provision of these benches."
Ruth Davey, Mid Devon Advertiser editorial manager, said: “As the local newspaper for Teignbridge we are delighted to have played a significant role in retaining the timber for this heritage project and even more pleased that Advertiser reader Roger Harding's suggestion of creating benches has been taken up.
“The competition, initiated by former reporter Nigel Canham, generated a good number of suggestions among our 37,000 readers which probably reflects how fond people were of the trees. It will be great to see them back again in their new form and knowing Mic Chambers’ work, the seats are bound to look terrific.”
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