It has become something of an unlikely tourist attraction, though it has set teeth gnashing among some residents of a Highland town. 

But now a massive dinosaur head placed on top of a shop in Moray has been saved from extinction, after councillors gave it a roar of approval.  

The psychedelic monster, which lights up at night, towers over a main street in Cullen, Moray, after being installed by local antiques dealer John Webb to “put a smile on people's faces”. 

While some in the town warmed to their new mascot, others gave it the cold shoulder and the matter was referred to Moray Council to have the final say.  

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Members of the local review body have now decided to grant the beastly sculpture retrospective planning permissions, meaning the days of the dinosaur are not done yet.  

The local news website Grampian Online reported that the council voted five to three in favour of keeping the structure in place during a meeting this week.  

The Herald:

The group's chairman Marc Macrae said: "The dinosaur brings people from near and far, and kids come from Inverness to see it. 

"Both local shops and local hotels are very much in support." 

The dinosaur is on Barlink Road, which is in the picturesque village's conservation area. 

The decision went against the recommendations of the council's own planning officers, who said that the head detracted from rather than enhanced its surroundings. 

Cllr Macrae cited ancient history in his reasons for keeping the dinosaur, saying: "Officers suggest it would be better placed in a theme park. But there’s things in Elgin I wouldn’t place in a conservation area. 

"Dinosaurs have a relationship to Cullen. During the Permian and Triassic periods 280 million years ago, theropods actually walked along the beach at Cullen." 

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Councillor Derek Ross agreed, joking: "I think many of us here have been accused of being dinosaurs. Over the last six years certainly I have. 

"I’m giving a thumbs-up to something I think will be an asset to the local community." 

However SNP councillor Juli Harris said she backed the 62 people who had lodged objections. 

She said: “We make decisions on applications for windows and restoration in conservation areas. 

"If we’re asking them to stick to the rules, surely something like a dinosaur head plonked on a building that's in disrepair does nothing to enhance the area. 

The Herald:

Cllr Harris added that she felt the dinosaur was ‘tacky" and could pose a danger in stormy weather. 

She was seconded by Amber Dunbar (Elgin North, Conservative), who said: "I’m concerned that it has compromised the appearance of the conservation area, and I’m worried of the precedent it would set." 

Following the decision the dinosaur can now remain in place for at least the next five years. 

It had been described as "monstrous" and "ghastly" by some who objected to it. 

However it also had 53 letters of support, with some people describing it as "fun", "novel" and "quirky". 

Contrary to widespread, but mistaken, opinion the Cullen dinosaur is not a Tyrannosaurus Rex. 

Instead, it's a Carnotaurus which lived sometime between 71 and 69 million years ago. 

Unlike their more famous cousins, these meat-eaters had horns. 

About 25ft long, it's thought they were very fast and had a highly developed sense of smell. 

Previously, owner John Webb said: “He said: “It’s comedy, it’s nothing serious. We’re not making a statement. It’s just a bit of fun. I own the building and thought I’d put a bit of art on it to make people happy and put a smile on their faces. 

“I’ve said to the council from day one that it’s not permanent. There’s a lot of over-bureaucracy.”