Leek is a market town in Staffordshire above the River Churnet. It is the administrative centre of the Staffordshire Moorlands and the former home of engineer James Brindley.
In the 1922 Road Lists, the five major roads meeting at Leek were all given A-road status. The road to Buxton and Newcastle-under-Lyme (its route through Stoke-on-Trent was still largely rural in the 1920s!) became the A53, the road to Stone became the A520 and the road to Macclesfield and the A52 near Ashbourne became the A523. The original route of the A523 was along Derby Street. As both the A53 and A523 were required to TOTSO in Leek, the road between the two was given the number B5058.
The road network in Leek has remained more-or-less the same since 1922. The only change has been the removal of traffic from Derby Street. A new road, Springfield Road, was built towards the east of town and given the number A523. The road west of here as far as the "old" A523 in Church Street was also renumbered A523, thus removing the B5058 from maps and requiring A53 traffic to multiplex. For obvious reasons, the A520 was extended a short distance north at the same time. The "old" A523 as far as the junction in the centre of town by the Nicholson War Memorial kept its number to become a spur. This junction was a roundabout for many years but was controversially replaced by a traffic-light-controlled crossroads in 2012. The fingerpost which used to be in the centre of the roundabout has been moved to the western side of the A53.
Leek, therefore, has two unusual features. The first is that a three-digit A-road is the dominant partner in a multiplex with a two-digit A-road. The second is that the town has no bypass to speak of (Springfield Road makes no difference), meaning that the town can get very busy as all through traffic has to pass along some narrow town-centre roads.
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