Plans for a multi-million pound monument to the iconic Spitfire in Southampton have moved a step closer.
The long-awaited 40m tall statue of a soaring aircraft is now set to become a reality, it has been revealed.
It comes as the government is to invest £3m towards the £6m project.
The government pledge comes as the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will announce the budget on Wednesday.
As previously reported, plans for a lasting tribute to the iconic World War Two aircraft, which was built in Southampton and played a major role in the successful defence of the UK from Nazi Germany, have been in the pipeline for several years.
The monument is expected to be in Mayflower Park.
Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said an extra £3m will have to be raised.
But he added: “But I am confident, with this support from government, we will now make the monument a reality. I have been campaigning for a fitting memorial to the designer, those that built the Spitfire and all those young men who flew it, for over a decade and for my entire five years in Parliament. It is finally starting to become a reality as government pledges £3million towards the project.”
Mr Smith said the proposals for the Spitfire monument already have planning permission and the design is ready.
“It will be one and a half times the size of the original Spitfire and at twice the height of the famous Angel of the North, will be visible for miles”, he said.
Mr Smith added: “Tourists and enthusiasts will flock to Southampton to visit the monument. This is a very good news day for Southampton and I am looking forward to completing the project and finally, honouring all those who were involved in this iconic aircraft. The stainless steel monument will soar above Southampton reminding people not just about the contribution the Spitfire made in WW2 but the sacrifices Southampton people made to keep this country free.”
Mr Smith said it could take a couple of years to complete the scheme but a detailed timescale is yet to be confirmed.
He said Southampton City Council has committed the land at Mayflower Park and a financial contribution towards the scheme but details are yet to be finalised.
The city council has been approached for comment but had not responded at the time the Daily Echo went to press.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “My budget will deliver on the promises we’ve made to veterans – and to the rest of the British people.”
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