THE Welsh Heritage Minister is backing a £6 million plan to build a landmark Dragon Tower on the outskirts of Wrexham.

Alun Ffred Jones was in the area yesterday to launch a scheme to create a cycling centre of excellence at Llandegla. He told the Leader he “broadly supported” the plan by Erbistock businessman Simon Wingett to build a 40-metre tower, topped by a huge Welsh dragon, on land just off the A483 near Chirk as a monument to Welsh culture.

It would also help raise money for the cancer charity set up by his late father, Frank.
Mr Wingett submitted a planning application for the development two weeks ago, which will probably be considered by Wrexham Council in November.

Mr Jones said: “I think it is a good idea if they can get together the wherewithall to put it there and if it wins the support of the community.”

The Minister was at Coed Llandegla Mountain Biking Centre to announce a £16 million blueprint to create four tourism centres across the country to provide world-class activity facilities.

One of these will be at the Llandegla centre, which will see an upgrade of existing facilities as part of a wider North Wales scheme costing £2,219,161.

The same overall project will see the development of a natural cycling trail linking Llandegla, Llangollen, Corwen and the Dee Valley. There will also be grant assistance to local tourism businesses .

Cash for the projects is coming from the European Regional Development Fund, local councils and other sources.

The mountain biking centre attracted 150,000 visitors last year and is aiming for 220,000 this year.

The cash injection will allow the company which runs it, Oneplanet Adventure, to upgrade its water and waste management facilities, install showers and extend the kitchen serving the cafe.

Howard Sutcliffe, Clwydian Range officer for Denbighshire County Council, said the planned link between Llandegla and other areas such as Llangollen would mean new trails being built across an area covering 200 square miles. This, he said, would probably be based on the existing bridleway network.