Wales

London Olympics date hope for Wrexham dragon tower

An image of how the dragon tower, near Wrexham, might look
Image caption The bronze dragon, standing on two legs, will now remain a "natural bronze" colour

The businessman behind plans for a huge Welsh dragon tower near the English border says he would love it to be ready in time for the London Olympics.

Simon Wingett said the 2012 games would offer a "fantastic opportunity to showcase Wales".

Plans for the 80ft (24m) bronze dragon on top of a 120ft (37m) tower at Chirk Park have been approved by Wrexham councillors.

The £9m scheme would also feature a cultural centre and a cafe bar.

Mr Wingett told BBC Radio Wales the "natural bronze" dragon, with a wing span of 155ft (47m), would be a traditional dragon similar to that on the Welsh flag.

"The difference being the dragon which will go outside Wrexham is standing up on its two back legs almost in a boxing stance looking out over England and beyond to the rest of the world," he said.

Mr Wingett said it was more than just a large dragon, and the project would offer other facilities.

"The one thing you can't do at the Angel of the North is go and have a cup of tea," he said.

"With the dragon project, there will be a cultural centre, there will be a cafe bar, there will be language heritage facilities where we're going to showcase Wales, not only through tourism and leisure, but prove to the rest of the country that Wales has a fantastic (amount to) offer."

Mr Wingett said no public money was involved and a lot of the funding had depended on securing planning permission.

He said he was "five-ninths of the way there, with an awful lot of people sitting on the fence waiting to see whether or not we would be given planning permission".

"In an ideal world I would love us to open before the Olympics hit England because I think it would be a fantastic opportunity to showcase Wales," he added.

The tower was approved by councillors on Monday after the decision was deferred last month.

Coun Paul Pemberton said: "It was approved with some highway conditions. It's for minor road modifications."

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