WELSH Secretary Peter Hain is backing plans for a 125ft tower topped by an enormous Welsh dragon on Wrexham’s border.
Speaking during an official visit to a Chirk school, Mr Hain said he had seen the Leader’s coverage earlier this month of the ambitious scheme, the brainchild of Erbistock-based art dealer Simon Wingett.
Mr Wingett aims to raise £6million to create the landmark building as a way of raising £1million a year for cancer charities in memory of his late father who died from the disease, and a centre to promote the Welsh language and culture.
He has earmarked a site owned by Wrexham Council just off the A483, close to the McDonald’s restaurant.
During a visit to Chirk Infant School on Friday to see its successful breakfast club, Mr Hain said: “I have seen the Leader’s story about the dragon tower and I think it’s a great idea.
“Of course, it’s not down to me to decide on it but just as the Angel of the North in the North East of England makes a statement, I think the dragon tower could make a statement here in Wales.
“The dragon is fine by me.”
The land on which Mr Wingett hopes to build the tower is also one of three possible locations detailed in Wrexham’s Local Development Plan for a new gipsy and traveller site.
Mr Wingett believes the tower, crowned by the 75ft red dragon, would provide the perfect gateway to Wales from neighbouring Shropshire.
A planning application is due to be considered by the council in June.
Mr Hain did not comment on this as Secretary of State.
Mr Wingett said of Mr Hain’s endorsement of his plan: “This is super news.
“We want everyone to say this is a great idea and to make it happen.
“The plan is rolling along at a good pace but there is still an awful lot of work to be done.”
On his visit to Chirk, Mr Hain also stated his initial backing – given exclusively to the Leader in January – for any bid by Wrexham to become a city in the latest round of bidding announced late last year.
He said: “Wrexham has a proud history and is one of the best-known towns in Britain.
“It is famous for its railways, its history, its modern technology and now its university at Glyndwr.
“Getting city status would be a great achievement and well deserved.”
Mr Hain said his visit to the Chirk school and his previous day’s engagements at the Toyota plant on Deeside and the Air Products Sports and Social Club in Acrefair meant the General Election campaign had “effectively started".
He had warm words for the Chirk breakfast club, which he said ensured children had a full stomach on which to start the day and freed up parents for work.
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