Monday 6th November 2017- By Gavin McEwan

Diseased elms from Brighton’s Preston Park are being made into planks which will be used to clad a new kiosk in the city’s Stanmer Park that will house cycle hire, an information centre and toilets.

Last week, students from nearby Plumpton College set up a portable milling machine in Stanmer Park and, along with Cityparks staff from Brighton & Hove City Council, in order to “plank” the timber.

All bark is removed and destroyed to remove any beetles and control any risk of infection. The planks will be stored to be seasoned ready for use when the new building is constructed late next year.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the council’s environment committee, said:

“Elm disease has had a devastating effect on many of the city’s precious elm trees which means we have to remove them when they show signs of disease to save the remaining healthy elms.
“But it’s great that these trees are now being reused and given a new lease of life, providing attractive cladding for a building which will sit at the heart of one of the city’s biggest restoration projects.”

Ian Rideout, head of Forestry & Horticulture at Plumpton College, said: “

It is a great training opportunity for our students to work alongside our staff in milling the elm to provide a lasting legacy within Stanmer Park.”

A joint initiative between Brighton & Hove City Council, Plumpton College and South Downs National Park, the £5.8 million Stanmer Restoration Project will see around 20 hectares of the park’s landscape restored, thanks to a £3.8m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BIG Lottery Fund’s Parks for People scheme.

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