Centurion tanked up with nowhere to go

Development: Centurion Tank on the junction of Flensburg Way and Penwortham Way
Development: Centurion Tank on the junction of Flensburg Way and Penwortham Way

Motorists heading into Leyland have been shocked at the sight of a Centurion Tank on the side of the road.

Drivers couldn’t believe their eyes as the 50-tonne vehicle was lowered onto a plinth by a crane at the junction of Flensburg Way and Penwortham Way on Saturday.

Council officials and local dignitaries will be officially unveiling the tank at a ceremony this week.

Local businessman Martin Ainscough, who helped to bring the tank back to its roots, said: “This tank was produced in Leyland and it is something that people will remember.

“It will be great for some people to see what their grandparents and great-grandparents were involved in building.

“I think it is something that we should all be proud off and also we can think about the people from Leyland who died in the conflicts in World War One and Two.”

As revealed in last year’s Leyland Guardian, regeneration chiefs at the council believe the vehicle will help revitalise the town.

The tank is mounted on an earth plinth bearing a plaque reading ‘Made in Leyland’, with the barrel pointing towards Preston.

The road leading to the current Leyland Business Park, Centurion Way, was named after the post-Second World War machine, which was adopted by armies all over the world.

One worried passer-by, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I was driving past on the day that the tank was put there, and during the evening, I saw some children playing on the site.

“They were round the back and looking underneath it, and there didn’t seem to be anything in place to deter them, like a fence or sign.”

Councillor Phil Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, leisure and healthy communities, said: “We are very pleased with the tremendous amount of support and positive feedback we have had about the tank from residents, community organisations.

“It was winched into position on Saturday morning, becoming the latest piece in the jigsaw of the wider regeneration of Leyland.

“There is some fencing around the tank, but it is there to be enjoyed as a celebration of Leyland’s world-renowned industrial heritage, so we have no intention of building a fortress around it. “

We have had no reports of anyone climbing on to it, but I would obviously ask people to respect the tank and what it stands for – as a tribute to our servicemen and the workers of the town.”