Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 19:09 UK

Wrexham councillors grant option for dragon tower

Dragon tower image
The dragon tower would provide a view over north Wales and the Marches, its designer says

Councillors have agreed to grant an option on land to a cancer charity wanting to build a proposed "Waking the Dragon" tower.

The Frank Wingett Cancer Appeal wants to build the dragon sculpture and associated visitor centre on council owned land at Chirk Park, Wrexham.

The charity estimates it would attract 150,000 visitors annually, raise £1m a year and create 70 new jobs on site.

Wrexham councillors agreed to negotiate possible terms with the charity.

If approved, the 25m (82ft) bronze dragon sculpture would top a new 40m (131ft) building in Wrexham with a visitor centre.

The council owns the land and has been asked to allow it to be transferred over to the project, in principle.

Earlier council leader Aled Roberts said the brainchild of a local businessman would "strengthen and develop" tourism.

Businessman Simon Wingett is behind the project. He is also chairman of the Frank Wingett Cancer Appeal, and any money made from the tower would be donated to the appeal.

A report by chief economic development officer Stephen Bayley, had recommended that members of the council's executive board "grant an option on the council-owned land at Chirk Park to the Frank Wingett Cancer Appeal".

If this goes ahead and is successful it's now looking at being an iconic piece of Welsh art
Stephen Bayley, chief economic development officer

The report said that would help "enable the charity to develop a project for an iconic work of art and Welsh cultural centre subject to the granting of planning permission and the satisfactory conclusion for the terms of sale".

Mr Bayley said the council believed it was a "valuable piece of land", adding that it was not known whether the authority would sell, lease, or donate it to the project.

He said the council would not relinquish the land without guarantees the project would go ahead.

He said the dragon tower could be a "monumental piece of art", adding: "If this goes ahead and is successful it's now looking at being an iconic piece of Welsh art."

If councillors agree to move to transfer the land, it is thought a planning application could be submitted next month.

The tower would host an interactive visitor centre and a viewing gallery at the top, and an art centre and gallery housed next door.

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