THE MAGIC Roundabout will take delivery of an early Christmas present this year, in the shape of a giant spruce.

The 40ft Christmas tree will begin brightening up the lives of Swindon drivers on Monday, at 8pm, when council leader Rod Bluh will flick the switch on the tree’s 5,500 multi-coloured lights.

The tree, which will be sponsored by Capita, has become a talking point in the Adver over the last few weeks, with Coun Derique ‘Scrooge’ Montaut saying the tree would be a hazard to drivers.

The idea came about when Coun Bluh was talking to Swindon taxi drivers at the Swindon Strategic Economic Partnership (SSEP) annual conference last month.

They said that the first thing visitors wanted to see when they came to Swindon was the magic roundabout, but they were often disappointed when faced with the grey reality.

Coun Bluh hopes the festive fir will help to lighten up a Christmas when many may be feeling the effects of the credit crunch.

The lights, purchased locally and sponsored by V-Cars, will help give people a more magical experience of the roundabout, which around 40,000 motorists cross on a daily basis.

The Magic Roundabout is no stranger to the limelight. It has been featured on TV across the world and pictures of it adorn merchandise, including T-shirts, key rings, tea towels, badges and fridge magnets.

These are available to buy from the Swindon Visitor Information Centre, in Regent Street.

Coun Bluh said: “It’s fantastic news. I hope this festive feature of the roundabout will bring extra Christmas cheer to the people of Swindon.

“I realise this is a time of financial difficulty and uncertainty for many. This is intended as a bit of fun for everyone and should brighten up visitor’s memories of the town’s very popular landmark.”

Representatives from Swindon taxi firms will also be attending the switch-on.

Ken Cousins, a V-Cars private hire driver, said: “We’re absolutely delighted at the news. We’ve taken so many people to see it – now we’ll actually have something to show them. We are thrilled to sponsor the lights and are pleased that Swindon is making the most of one of its best-loved attractions – long may it continue.”