'Is it end of the road for our roundabout?'
DEMOLITION work on a town's iconic roundabout will begin within weeks – but campaigners have pledged to continue their fight for a public inquiry.
Staffordshire County Council confirmed yesterday it will begin remedial work at the roundabout in Leek on June 6.
Road closures, temporary traffic lights and diversions will be imposed in time for the main phase of demolition work to begin on June 11.
The authority has briefed Staffordshire Police about its plans amid concerns the work could be halted by protesters.
Campaigners believe the roundabout is fundamental to the town and its heritage and said yesterday they will continue their action even after work begins.
The county council said replacing the roundabout at Derby Street with a traffic light junction will provide better access to the adjacent Nicholson War Memorial and ensure the town's roads can cope with increased traffic demands.
The changes are part of a £1 million overhaul linked to the new Sainsbury's out-of-town supermarket at the former Churnet Works site, in Macclesfield Road.
Campaign leader and bakery owner Sarah Gayton, aged 51, of Queen Street, Leek, said: "It is far from over. We have handed in a petition of 10,700 names at Number 10 and a letter asking David Cameron to step in.
"He has the power to call in this application. It's time for him to show whether his Big Society and his localism is worth the paper it's written on.
"Even if the roundabout goes, we will continue to fight for a public inquiry."
Earlier this month the county council used emergency powers to close roads near the island before moving in at dusk to carry out preparatory works.
Contractors cut the electricity supply and removed the head of the lamppost, including a crown signifying Leek's 'Queen of the Moorlands' title.
The council said the crown will be incorporated as part of new designs for the town but has not set a date for its return.
Mrs Gayton added: "We are the Queen of the Moorlands and we want our crown back in time for the jubilee celebrations."
County councillor Neal Podmore, who represents Leek South, said: "I hope people will focus on the positives.
"This is millions of pounds of investment in the town and its infrastructure, as well as a large brown field site being brought back to life.
"The majority of people who speak to me are supportive of the scheme as they see the benefits to the town.
"Making the date public may cause people to protest but I have no issue with that. I support people's right to protest in a lawful way. If they break the law, it is a police matter. Police are key stakeholders in this and are fully aware of the plans."