Monday, 7 February 2011

Dragon project gets approval


Tonight's planning committee approved the Dragon project at Chirk, after long deliberation and some concerns at the traffic problems on the A483 roundabout nearby, the business plan and the look of the actual dragon.
Some councillors raised genuine concerns about the project, as they had done last month, but the 10-5 in favour of the project was a clear mandate.
This project has had to overcome many hurdles - and rightly so because it will be a huge legacy. However, I feel we set the bar higher on this project than on - say - a fast-food takeway or a supermarket because councillors and officers were nervous about the "white elephant" (to mix animal metaphors) syndrome.
The scale of the dragon is pretty epic and needs to be if it is to make an impact similar to the Angel of the North. Sceptics who say it is not as iconic as that public artwork were probably matched by councillors in Newcastle who would have moaned that the statue was ugly, would rust and be an eyesore. Within a decade it has become an icon for the north-east of England and rightly so.
One pernickity councillor warned us against being carried away on a tide of national identity (aka nationalism). I think that was the last thing on most councillors' minds, with an unholy alliance of Labour and Tory councillors opposing for a variety of reasons.
One Labour councillor opposed on the grounds that the dragon wouldn't be red. It won't. It will be a burnished bronze that will be tempered by the weather - do we have to be so literal in our understanding?
The dragon, situated at the gateway to a series of emerging and established attractions in the north-east, has the same potential. It will stand proud and will be a fantastic symbol right on the border.
As well as attracting tourists from outside Wales, it will also be popular with people from within Wales.
Tonight was a vote of confidence rather than a vote of timidity.

8 comments:

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

A great result and long overdue; one can only wonder as to Labour and Tory opposition to this legacy.

Anonymous said...

So when the developer comes back and asks for another development nearby (eg housing or supermarket) because he hasn't got enough money to build it or cover running costs what will Plaid say then, will they give in to housing or retail because its a dragon?

The question is who is going to maintain this monstrosity in the future? Look at Blackpool tower which the government has to spend millions on.

Plaid Whitegate said...

Each planning application has to be dealt with on its own individual merits.
Some people are rather sour - is it because this part of Wales is finally asserting its national identity?

Anonymous said...

Well I am one Labour member (in South Wales) who thinks it looks fantastic.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Thanks for your support, I think its a win win situation with no risk to public funds.

Anonymous said...

I live in South West Wales. I think I'll visit this once it's completed. I've never been to this part of Wales before. This will be another Welsh icon.....like Big Ben is to England.

Anonymous said...

Mark Brittain (apt name that) cringes at the dragon in his Leader column - thinks people will laugh at Wales. He's worried about what other people think? Then he should stop writing his bloody awful columns.

Tangerine Dream said...

How much has Blackpool tower benefitted Blackpool over the years? Its legacy is immeasurable. This project can only help the image of the north-east of Wales.