23rd November 2021, saw the official unveiling of some giant carved chairs, created from the timber of a hazardous oak tree on the Chowns Mill Roundabout, near the A45/A6, Northamptonshire.  The tree that was removed for safety reasons from the National Highways site, is now the focal point of a vibrant community space.

The project began back in 2020. Ground Control was working on the vegetation management contract for the National Highways Chowns Mill Roundabout improvement scheme.  A tree that was known locally as Three Oaks, was identified as unstable and at risk of collapsing and causing danger. Despite extensive investigations and hi-tech testing, it was not possible to retain the tree near the roundabout.

In response to this news, National Highways commissioned Ground Control’s construction team after discussions identifying an opportunity to give new life to the tree.

Subsequently, a woodcarver was commissioned to create some large ornate chairs out of the oak tree for the local community to enjoy.

The recycled benches are now a beautiful but functional community feature and have been scripted with ‘Gifted by Ground Control’.

This is the second of two similar projects where Ground Control had two benches created and placed in a local community parkland from the first of the Oak timber.

The chairs have been gifted to Higham Ferrers community school. Pupils from this school were invited to take  part in a competition to design the carvings on the back of the chairs from which the winners attended and saw their designs in context. The unveiling was attended by the Mayor Councillor Tina Reavey who welcomed attendees and thanked all involved in the collaboration.

Andrew Fletcher, Contract Manager, Ground Control commented:

“This is a terrific example of the community coming together to transform nature that’s no longer fit for purpose into something positive and sustainable. I can’t stress enough that we, in partnership with National Highways, only remove trees when absolutely necessary and will always seek ways to recycle materials for sustainable use, as we’ve done here, and offset with tree replanting.  Congratulations to the winning pupils and thank you to everyone involved.”

National Highways is replanting over 3,874 native trees in and around the Chowns Mill roundabout development scheme. In addition to the main Chowns Mill scheme, Ground Control has carried out a biodiversity scheme to a local area of scrubland named Mallows Cotton near Stanwick Lakes.

The Chowns Mill roundabout improvement scheme is to be officially launched on 10th December 2021. In addition to a safer, more free-flowing roundabout, the launch will also celebrate biodiversity, in the form of wildflower meadows, bird, bat and hedgehog boxes incorporated to support habitat creation and carbon sequestration.