A major fundraising drive is now under way to find the cash needed for the 40m-high landmark statue of the iconic plane, which will be seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors passing through the city’s docks each year.
Full planning permission has been granted by Southampton City Council for the elegant monument on land next to the historic Trafalgar dry dock, which it is hoped could become the city’s answer to the Statue of Liberty.
That has paved the way for the Spitfire Development Board to finalise the detailed design and material specification and approach corporate sponsors, individual donors and grant making bodies to raise the cash to pay for the monument.
Chairman of the Spitfire Tribute Foundation, Southampton’s culture chief, Councilllor John Hannides, said: “Getting the news on passing this vital stage has only added to the excitement that we all feel about bringing the tribute to Southampton.
“We are all looking forward to the new year and getting down to the hard work of seeing the detailed designs and engaging with as much of the public as we possibly can.”
Plans for the tribute to the famous Woolston-built fighter plane were first unveiled three years ago after a long-running campaign by the Daily Echo for the men and women who built and flew it to be honoured.
Australian architect Nick Hancock’s design was selected from 300 entries to a national competition last summer. His plans would see a giant curved steel mast raise a 1.5 times scale replica Spitfire into the air from a circular viewing platform inspired by the Royal Air Force roundel, with a pool of remembrance in its centre.