THE stalled plan to put a 49-foot festive fir in the middle of the Magic Roundabout will still go ahead, according to determined council leader Rod Bluh.

But one opposition councillor believes the spluttering start the project has seen is an omen of things to come, and fears it could become a target for football hooligans.

The next attempt to erect the tree will be tomorrow night, with an official lighting-up ceremony on Thursday at 8pm.

It was originally to be erected on Sunday morning but the tree splintered the wooden supports in its concrete base.

Coun Bluh said: “We plan to have a second go at putting up the giant Christmas tree on Swindon’s Magic Roundabout on Wednesday.

“The height of the tree was not the problem when we tried to put it up on Sunday. Unfortunately the tree got caught on part of the concrete base, which caused the base to crack.

“It would therefore have been unsafe to continue. We have now modified the base design and hope that, with a bit of magic, the impressive 49ft tree decorated with 5,500 lights will be ready to be switched on by myself and representatives from V Cars on Thursday night at 8pm.”

But Labour’s transport spokesman Derique Montaut said there were serious safety considerations.

He said: “I think Coun Bluh has been given a golden opportunity to rethink this scheme and see that he is going in the wrong direction.

“There are other parts of the town that could benefit from something like this and I think the money would be better spent in those areas.

“The location is completely inappropriate and I think there are some real dangers here – there is the fact that visitors to the town are often confused by the Magic Roundabout anyway and having the extra distraction of a huge Christmas tree in the middle won’t help.

“There is also the possible problems you could have with the sad minority of people who go to football matches to cause trouble – it could be seen as a trophy to opposing fans.

“Everybody wants to be proud of their town but I don’t think this is the way to go about it.”