Still cross at change to town landmark

The cobbles were pulled up from around the Leyland Cross this time last year
The cobbles were pulled up from around the Leyland Cross this time last year

Pulling up the cobbles around Leyland’s historic Cross was a huge mistake, according to an angry community leader.

In April last year, Lancashire County Council (LCC) replaced the cobbles in the town’s conservation area with asphalt, in a bid to minimise the amount of roadworks needed on the busy junction of Fox Lane, Church Road, and Worden Lane.

Twelve months on, highways bosses have now confirmed no repair work has been needed since the controversial move, but the chairman of the Fox Lane Community Group says there is still upset over the decision.

Jay Nicholas believes it was a ‘disgrace’ for the attractive cobbles to be ripped up, and said the council should have instead concentrated on moving traffic away from the historic Cross landmark.

She said: “It’s my view that the council should be treating this area like a conservation area, and they should stop the amount of traffic using the roads around the Cross.

“Taking the cobbles away may have meant that no repair work has been needed in the last year, but something should have been done about the traffic situation.

“Church Road and Fox Lane are the council’s preferred routes for diverted traffic if there’s an accident on the motorway, which is just bonkers.

“I would have much preferred to see the cobbles remain and Fox Lane being made a one-way street, or shut off to traffic altogether.”

The cobbles, known as setts, were a later addition to the Cross area, and not original features of what is believed to be an ancient monument, and the oldest construction known to exist in Leyland.

The setts were put in by Tesco as part of planning conditions to help make the area look in-keeping with the conservation area when the store was built around 10 years ago.

They became a well-known characteristic themselves, but LCC decided to pull them up and lay the road with a ‘safer’ surface 12 months ago.

But Jay argues that because residents have to abide by rules to help protect this historic part of the town, the council should do more to help preserve it too.

She said: “I’m not allowed to put a satellite dish outside the front of my house, but the council allows that amount of traffic to travel down Fox Lane and ruin the area?

“Our houses are getting damaged due to the traffic.

“The windows shake and rattle when lorries go past.

“I still think it’s a disgrace that the cobbles were pulled up.”

Complaints started to surface after the county council had to continuously close the road to re-lay the setts when they became unsteady.

Each time, they had to be re-laid individually by hand, which meant the junction was closed for days or weeks on end.

Paul Dunne, highways manager for South Ribble at LCC, said: “We decided to remove the cobbles and resurface Leyland Cross a year ago as we had to repair it 14 times over the previous three years.

“Since relaying the surface we have not had to carry out any further repair work.”