Welsh dragon sculpture man looking forward to project taking flight
The man behind plans to build a huge Welsh dragon on the Shropshire border says it is a huge relief to be able to look towards its future at last.
Simon Wingett this week won a five-year extension to planning permission for a the landmark which he want to built just off the A5/A383 near Chirk.
The £2.5 million project would, he hopes, attract visitors to the region and bring a major boost to the economy.
He hopes workmen can be on site later this year.
He says his dreams of the sculpture to rival the Angel of the North hit the buffers when he first announced it when the world slid into recession.
"I got planning permission in the depths of the worst recession in living memory in 2011," he said.
"So the first three to four years of my planning permission was really rather difficult if you had anything that was slightly unusual in the construction world.
"Obviously building a landmark of this size and nature was."
He has scaled down the original plans, which had been costed at £9 million.
Mr Wingett is now appealing to the public to help make his dream a reality through a crowd funding campaign.
He said: "The whole project is £2.5 million and we can now finalise the details for our crowdfunding campaign which we hope to raise in excess of £1 million.
"He said that he hoped that the rest of the money would be raised through a Finance Wales loan and cash which he hoped to secure from the Welsh Government.
"This is on the historical gateway into Wales.
"It will be an absolutely staggering sight to see our Welsh dragon reanimated rather than like on our flag, reanimated into a boxing stance, looking at England and beyond. Looking straight at Shropshire.
"The viewing platform is 40ft off the ground, so you will have wonderful views over the Welsh Marches, the Shropshire plain towards Shrewsbury and Wrekin and beyond. "
At the heart of a special visitor complex will be the huge bronze Welsh Dragon, based on the country's national emblem, raised on its hind legs on a 30ft tall slate tower, standing 110ft in the air.
It will be surrounded by 11 tall monolith stones, decorated with scenes from the legendary Welsh text, The Mabinogion.
There will also be an amphitheatre for performances, a 12 acre garden and a Welsh centre of excellence housing a cafe, sandwich bar and merchandise shop and art gallery.
Mr Wingett has said that 10 per cent of the profits will go to fund cancer research in Wales and the Marches region. His 16-year-old daughter is undergoing treatment for the disease.