Thanks to a grant received two years ago from the former North Dorset District Council, Gillingham Town Council has been able to fund the refurbishment of the town’s roundabouts as part of the ongoing Gillingham Gateways project.
The original idea came from a local artist, Janet Swiss, a former member of Gillingham’s Town Team, and draws on the fact that Gillingham was a former Royal Forest favoured in mediaeval times by King John and King Henry III. The forest was used to supply the royal larder with meat and timbers for royal buildings.
The result is that the Ham Roundabaout off the Shaftesbury Road between Sydenhams and Aldi is now home to eye-catching sculptures made from recycled chicken wire by local sculpture artist, Pauline Dawkins, showing a white hart, stag and deer.
The white hart appears in the town’s Crest and is also used by Gillingham School and other organisations in the town.
Pauline Dawkins said: ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed making this fabulous commission for Gillingham. The comments and support from the local people of Gillingham have been amazing. I feel that everyone’s hard work has come together successfully.’
Janet Swiss, said: ‘I am absolutely thrilled with the result.’
Mayor Barry von Clemens, said: ‘It’s fabulous to see the completion of this first part of the Gateways Project, giving a positive image of our town to people as they enter Gillingham.’
Dorset Council Landscaping Team has modified Janet’s original design to meet highway health and safety guidelines.
Landscaping work will continue in the New Year on the smaller roundabout at Peacemarsh and the landscaping and sculpture of a stag made for this location will be just as stunning, the council hopes.
Due to a shortage of bulbs it was not possible to plant all the Spring bulbs this year so this work will be finished next autumn.
The roundabouts will remain the property of Dorset Council but will be maintained by the Town Council’s grounds team. All advertising on the roundabout is organised by Dorset Council and revenue received from this goes towards highway maintenance.