PLANS to build a massive Welsh dragon statue which would dwarf the Angel of the North were unveiled today.

Waking the Dragon would stand at 210ft, incorporate a culture complex and raise money for a cancer charity, it was revealed.

Organisers of the project, which will cost about £6 million, want it dominating the skyline by August 2011.

The bronze beast will sit on a gleaming 130ft tower and will symbolise the heritage and culture of the Welsh people.

Money raised from the tower will be donated to the Frank Wingett Cancer Appeal which specialises in improving sufferers' quality of life, and is in its 30th year.

Simon Wingett, the man behind the plan, said the dragon would be a Welsh icon.

The art dealer said: "The idea was spawned because of all the time spent driving up and down motorways and seeing cars and lorries displaying Welsh flags, the drivers obviously very proud of their heritage.

"I just thought that we must be the proudest nation in the world.

"The thought came about, 'why not have a colossal Welsh dragon?' Something of the Statue of Liberty proportions.’’ The dragon tower would be approximately 100ft smaller than the Statue of Liberty but would overshadow the Angel of the North which is 65ft. The dragon's wingspan would spread 170ft.

The proposed site is on the A5 near Chirk, providing views across Wrexham and the borderlands.

The tower would stand in a landscape of formal and informal pathways, oak trees and daffodil gardens.

Planners want space immediately around the tower to be used to depict the "Four Branches’’ of the ancient Mabinogion tales, with the tower at the centre of the stones depicting the tales' characters.

Visitors would enter the base of the tower which will house an interactive display.

A helical staircase with 206 steps - which can be bought and inscribed for £2,000 each - would lead to the top with glass lifts.

The attraction will also feature, if planning permission and funding are guaranteed, a restaurant, gallery, education spaces and possibly a museum.

The scheme was launched this morning at a Wrexham hotel with the leader of Wrexham Borough Council, Aled Roberts.

He said: "There is no doubt that this project will strengthen and further develop the tourism and heritage available to visitors in this part of north-east Wales.

"The dragon project will not only celebrate our unique heritage and culture, it will also boost the local economy with the creation of local jobs.’’