A GIANT museum of Southampton - shaped like the wing of a Spitfire - is unlikely to be built in the city unless developers come up with the cash.

Civic leaders have not ruled out finding a place for an iconic "Symbol of Southampton" heritage museum near the city's waterfront but say it would need vast sums of money to pay for it.

Plans to construct the giant building, designed by London based architect Bryan Avery were first revealed in the Daily Echo in June this year.

If it was ever built, it would rival Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower soaring into Southampton's skyline at a massive 443 ft tall.

However, Southampton City Council leader Councillor Adrian Vinson told the Daily Echo that although he did not rule out any plans for such a building, the council did not have the funds to pay for it and cash would have to be provided by private developers.

He said: "While I am more than happy to look at any proposal which might add to the city's image and to the facilities that are available to visitors, my impression is that this is just kite flying.

Aspiration to improve heritage' "We have an aspiration to improve our heritage offer with a visitor facility. One site the city owns is in lower High Street which is sometimes known as Canute's Palace.

"We would love to have a waterfront site, but they are hard to come by."

The structure designed to look like the wing of Southampton's iconic Spitfire would contain a museum displaying relics of the city's maritime and aviation past.

At 135m - it would be 35 metres shorter than the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth but according to designers would put the so called "Wow" factor into Southampton.

Displays would contain amazing stories about the Pilgrim Fathers, the ill-fated Titanic, the D-Day landings and Empire flying boats.

On top of the multi-million-pound structure would be a viewing platform where visitors could get breathtaking views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight.

Visitors would also be able to see Winchester and Salisbury while to the east, views of the New Forest.

Tourists would also be able to ride to the top of the tower in capsules, similar to those used at the world famous London Eye.

The high-level viewing gallery would be accessible to visitors 24 hours a day and provide Southampton with a fashionable vantage point from which to watch the docks below.

The tower is the brainchild of Bryan Avery - boss of London based architects Avery Associates. Mr Avery hopes to encourage business leaders in the city to put up funds to pay for the giant structure.

City bosses are still hoping to build a maritime heritage centre on the site at lower High Street. They were hoping to pay for the museum with cash from a plan to build a seven star hotel in the area but the deal fell through earlier this year.

City bosses are now hoping to market the site to prospective developers and plan to open a heritage centre by around 2011.

The centre will feature displays of Southampton's maritime history with the sinking of Titanic as the museum's central theme.

What do you think? E-mail Dave Newble at david.newble@soton-echo.co.uk.