SOUTHAMPTON’S long-awaited tribute to the Spitfire has a new home.
A 40-metre high statue of the iconic aircraft had been set to be built on the Trafalgar dry dock on the city’s waterfront.
Those plans were scuppered by new plans for the Royal Pier development – and the Daily Echo can now reveal the memorial could stand in Mayflower Park instead, with a planning application set to be submitted.
About £100,000 had already been raised for the project through a fundraising campaign.
But that money has all gone on studies and reports for its previous locations, and it means the drive to raise £2.5m for the statue must start again.
Planning permission for the statue in Trafalgar dock was granted in 2011, but now that plan has been changed as a result of the emerging Royal Pier development.
As part of the proposed £450m plans to regenerate the disused waterfront, the Trafalgar Dock would be used by ferry firm Red Funnel, and so would not have been able to be seen by as many people as hoped.
But a potential new home for the gleaming metal tribute has now been found, following crunch talks between the city council and the group behind the plans, which is now being coordinated by the Solent Sky museum and former city council leisure chief John Hannides.
A new panel to drive it forward will be announced later in the year.
Waterfront land in Mayflower Park will be its new home if planning permission is granted at the new site.
Solent Sky’s Alan Jones has urged anyone interested in helping the project to contact the museum. He said: “We think the city deserves this. But it is also a national monument, and we are looking at getting national support.”
City council leader Simon Letts said the council was “very keen” on the idea, and the authority had formally agreed that the land at Mayflower Park could be used for the monument, provided that it does not interfere with the PSP Boat Show. A decision is likely in June.