I’m glad that they decided to defer rather than refuse permission.
I sincerely hope that they will see fit to grant permission for the project.
It’s an unique project, and I am unaware of any other project as ambitious or culturally important in the offing. Some have compared it to the Angel of the North near Gateshead. I would argue that the Chirk project is better and far more ambitious.
Firstly the statue will stand on top of a tower which will house an exciting cultural and historical exhibition.
Secondly it is a business in its own right. It won’t simply be a piece of art to encourage contemplation and philosophical musings, but rather a local business employing local people and promoting local culture.
But there are other factors at play which must be considered.
Over the last ten years Wales has grown as a nation. We have started to find our voice, and re-find our identity. There’s a buzz and confidence, and this new patriotism can be found across the country.
But at the same time as we’ve seen our national confidence grow north east Wales has seen a huge increase in houses being built and this at the same time that north west England were going through an economic boom. Post industrial north east Wales, a stone’s throw away from some of England’s largest cities, is feeling the need to express its Welshness to Wales and the world, and what better way than with a statue of the most iconic and ancient of Welsh images, the red Dragon?
Some have criticised the design comparing it to a tacky souvenir. That might be their opinion (beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder), but this is the image that people have grown accustomed to since the Red Dragon was adopted as our National Flag in 1959; this is the dragon that people associate with Wales; and the people of this area have every right to express their Welshness and announce that they are equal to every other Welshman and woman.
It’s an unique declaration of confidence, and a project that will promote our national memory and cultivate national pride right in the middle of the lands where Owain Glyndŵr spent his formative years.
Of course many of those opposing the plans do so not on the basis of its design or its potential economic impact but instead in the knowledge of the knock on effects of a strengthened Welsh identity in the area. With an increased awareness of Welsh identity will come a greater interest in the language and a greater understanding of our heritage and culture – a vital pillar in the nation building project.
Y Ddraig Goch Ddyry Gychwyn – The Red Dragon Will Lead / Inspires Action – or so it says on the Royal Seal. Let’s hope so!
North East Wales might once again be the cradle for national self determination!