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Avery's Spitfire tower is grounded

Bryan Avery's Spitfire Wing Tower in Southampton has crashed and burned before it could even take off.

The giant Museum of Southampton is unlikely to get past the concept stage, as council leaders have stated the local authority does not have the money to pay for it.

Although councillors are not ruling out the possibility of a 'Symbol of Southampton', they have said it would require vast sums of cash and, unless a private developer is found, the project will be left to gather dust.

It was hoped that Avery's tower would rival Portsmouth's 170m-high Spinnaker Tower, and inject some so-called 'wow' factor back into the south coast city.

Designed to look like the wing of the iconic Spitfire, which was built in Southampton, the building would contain a museum displaying relics of the city's maritime and aviation past.

At the top of Avery's structure would be a viewing platform, where visitors could take in vistas of the Solent and the Isle of Wight.

Visitors would also be able to ride to the top of the tower in capsules, similar to the London Eye.

The scheme was originally meant to be financed by the construction of a seven-star hotel in the area, however, the deal fell through and the money was lost.

Council bosses now hope to market the site to prospective developers, and plan to build a heritage museum by 2011, but whether they will use Avery's design is uncertain.

by Richard Vaughan

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