A stone circle in Glasgow at the centre of a battle over its future cannot be removed without explosives, its creator has warned.

Duncan Lunan made the claim as he stepped up the battle to save the Sighthill Stone Circle, the first authentically aligned stone circle to have been erected in more than 3000 years.

The landmark in Sighthill Park is being overhauled to make way for a pathway as part of the city's bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

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But its designer and project manager Mr Lunan told The Herald the attraction was partly encased in a submerged concrete arc and could only be removed by blasting the stones out.

He said it would be far cheaper to renovate the circle and to position its final four unused stones. The largest stone weighs about 4.5 tonnes.

Mr Lunan said: "What the planning people said to me at that time [of the circle's construction in 1979] was they were really worried that vandals would push the stones over. They said they want this thing to be immovable without explosives.

"If they're going to move it now, it would seem they would have to blast it. What a waste. Why not do it up and make it the attraction it was originally meant to be?"

It comes as his campaign group, The Friends of the Sighthill Stone Circle, is to hold a sunset vigil on Saturday to mark the Celtic feast day of Imbolc – midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

The group has attracted more than 2000 signatures on a petition against destruction of the circle.

Glasgow City Council plans to create 830 homes and a new school campus and to demolish tower blocks. One proposal would see the stones removed to make room for a pathway.

Opponents of demolition have included polymath Alasdair Gray, whose seminal novel Lanark is partly set in the area now occupied by the high-rises of Sighthill.

Glasgow MSP Bob Doris has lodged a parliamentary motion to draw attention to the threat.

A council spokesman said: "The council wants the stones to remain in Sighthill Park and we would only consider moving them if they were to ultimately get in the way of the regeneration of the Sighthill area."