A DRAGON sculpture has recently been unveiled in Taunton's High Street, sparking mixed reactions from residents.

The four-metre-high public art sculpture was created by local chainsaw artist Matthew Crabb and was unveiled by the mayor of Taunton, Cllr Sue Lees, and the chair of SWT, Cllr Hazel Prior-Sankey on February 11.

The dragon was commissioned by the council after two trees that were planted when the High Street was originally pedestrianised in the 1970s were removed after having outgrown their brick planters.

People from the local area had varying opinions, which they expressed via Facebook.

For the sculpture

One resident praised the sculpture as being an important reminder to support local talent: "It looks fab, brightens the place up, gives you something to talk about and look at, and is supporting a local artist."

Keith Grimes has suggested the name Enter, inspired by Bruce Lee’s 1973 film Enter the Dragon.

He said: “That’s just my sense of humour. It looks great, and it’s the first thing you seen when you enter the high street. I think it’s a good thing for the town, and I’ve lived here since I was two years old. I’ve always said Taunton is my place.”

Another Taunton resident added: "It is an absolutely stunning piece of art."

Those who supported the sculpture expressed how important art is to a town: "Public art is important. You go to any great city throughout the world and you will see things that make the place interesting, lively and reflecting the unique character.

"It makes it a better place to live, work and visit. Anyone who calls it a waste of money has no understanding of what makes a healthy high street economy."

Other members of the public agreed: "Art should be displayed and celebrated."

Against the sculpture

However, some residents didn't share these warm feelings. The amount of money spent on the Taunton Dragon was a source of concern: "Hideous waste of money. This council needs to give their head a wobble."

Others added: "What a waste of money, we need more shops and money spent on more important things than a dragon surely."

Similarly, some wondered at the relevance of the dragon itself: "What’s a dragon got to do with Taunton?"

The symbol of Somerset is a dragon, but others compared the sculpture to the Welsh symbol: "I'm Welsh but live in Taunton. Why does the dragon look like the one on the Welsh flag?"

There was also some debate on how long the dragon will remain untampered with: "I think it's beautiful but wonder how long before it is wearing a traffic cone?"

What do you think?