J UST how much the town's iconic roundabout means to the people of Leek was evidenced by the number of people who turned out yesterday to protest as contractors moved in to begin its controversial removal. The vigil started on Sunday night and increased in number as people made their views known. The landmark roundabout at the top of the town's main street is infront of the imposing Nicholson War Memorial. It has for decades helped keep traffic that converges from Stoke-on-Trent, Ashbourne, Buxton and Macclesfield, moving freely. But now the roundabout is being bulldozed to make way for traffic lights. It is tied in with a new Sainsbury's development close to Leek Town's football ground in Macclesfield Road. The changes are supposedly needed to cope with HGVs supplying the new store. But lorries arrive at the Co-op, Aldi, Asda and Morrisons in the town on a daily basis with no problems.
A nd are we to really believe that Sainsbury's said that they would only set up shop in Leek if they were allowed to rip up the roundabout, change the roads network and in the process, alienate the majority of its potential customer base? Staffordshire County Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council have both failed to articulate, why in the face of such overwhelming public opposition to the road changes, they are not prepared to think again on this contentious proposal. The new Sainsbury's store is due to open in November. Would it not have been possible to let that take place and then assess the supermarket's impact on the town's road network, six months down the line? That way if the town was gridlocked, then people would be more receptive to change. After all, once the bulldozers move in, the roundabout is gone for good.
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