A BID to discuss alternative uses for land earmarked for an 80ft bronze dragon sculpture has been approved.

The site, which lies next to the A5 in Chirk, has also been set aside for a 12,000 square foot cultural centre.

However, a Conservative politician has raised concerns that the tourist scheme has not progressed since planning permission was granted in 2011.

A Charity Commission investigation into the Frank Wingett Cancer Relief Fund, which has invested £410,000 in the project, is also ongoing.

Last year, it was revealed the organisation run by Simon Wingett was being looked at amid concerns about a lack of donations to the region’s health board from the proceeds of a shop it operated at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

In the meantime, Cllr Rodney Skelland made a request for other potential uses of the council-owned land to be considered.

Speaking at a scrutiny committee meeting in Wrexham on Wednesday (DEL 6 MARCH 2019), he said: “I put this topic request form in because I’m quite concerned really about how long it’s taking.

“It’s been on the go now for 10 years. It’s a council owned site, it’s 20 acres, it’s a really prestigious site and nothing’s happened.

“This belongs to Wrexham Council and it’s 20 acres of possible employment land that could bring a lot of jobs to the area.

“I do really think we need to keep the pressure on over this site.”

Cllr Skelland’s request to find a different way forward for the former Black Park Colliery site was met with a cool response from council officials.

The authority’s head of corporate and customer services advised members of the employment, business and investment scrutiny committee against adding it to their workload.

Sioned Wyn Davies said: “The point I would just invite members to bare in mind is that this is a site which has already got planning permission.

“I appreciate there have been delays in bringing that into fruition but there is a planning permission which may still be developed.

“If that does not proceed, the site, because it falls within the open countryside, the presumption against development would be applied in planning terms.

“Spending and devoting time, both by officers and members of this committee, on the site may be a distraction from other matters which it might be more fruitful for you to focus on.”

However, the majority of councillors voted in favour of Cllr Skelland’s request to examine the site.

It came after they were told permission had also previously been granted for a hotel, petrol station and ambulance station on the land.

Chirk North representative Cllr Frank Hemmings (Lab) said: “As a local member to the area, I think there is a need to resolve the matter so that we can progress because there’s a lot of expectation in the area.

“We’ve talked about petrol stations and hotels and none of those things have materialised and yet a few miles down the road across the border they’ve done all of those things.

“We’re well behind what Shropshire are doing, for example.

“There is a need to bring it to a head I think.”