IT is being billed as Britain's first authentically aligned stone circle to have been erected in more than 3000 years, mirroring the rise and fall of the moon on a site of ancient astronomical interest.

But while it may be 4500 years younger than Stonehenge, a campaign is under way to save Glasgow's Sighthill Stone Circle from potential removal with the area in line for a multimillion regeneration in years to come.

An online petition has been launched to preserve the structure, created in the late 1970s by amateur astronomer and science writer Duncan Lunan but abruptly halted when Margaret Thatcher's government came to power, amid claims that removing it would also destroy local wildlife habitat.

The area is being overhauled as part of Glasgow's bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Glasgow City Council plans to revamp the entire Sighthill area, regardless of whether its bid for the games is successful, with plans for 830 homes, a new school campus and the demolition of the tower blocks.

The housing proposals would form the centrepiece of the regeneration plans but would involve decanting more than 400 families still living in the flats.

Mr Lunan said the council made clear at a meeting this week that the stones would be removed as part of the regeneration plans, with a walkway planned to go through the centre of the circle and linking with new structures immediately to the west.

He said: "This is quite different from what another council department told me a few months back.

"There has been a steady growth in interest, there's a book due out on the circle and I really thought its time had come. There is no reason why it can't be a major feature of a new Sighthill.

"The most I've been told is the stones could be removed, put in storage and re-erected somewhere else at a later stage.

"The campaign opposing this has really taken off in the past day or so and we're registering public interest to prove this isn't some forgotten 1970s project."

Paranormal aficionado Mandy Collins is behind the campaign and has secured the support of Mr Lunan.

She said: "The stone circle in Sighthill Park is the first stone circle built according to the alignment of the stars in several thousand years. It's one of Glasgow's treasures and can teach youngsters a lot about history and astronomy.

"The city council plans to destroy it to build yet another sports facility, this time for the Youth Olympics. Surely with the Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow there will be adequate facilities without ripping up another part of the city.

"In doing this, they are also going to destroy the natural habitat, and the wildlife in the park. Animals and education are not worth a needless sports village when the city already has one."

Incorporating the line of the midsummer sunset across the city, it was the site of midsummer parties held to celebrate the sun at its highest and most powerful, where bonfires were lit to hail the light and ward off evil spirits believed to roam freely as the sun turned southwards again. The Pagan-style parties continued until the 17th century, when they were halted by the church.

A council spokesman said: "At this stage of the development of the proposal, it is too early to comment on what will be done with the standing stones at Sighthill Park in terms of their location or incorporation into the masterplan for the area."