PLANS for a permanent monument to Britain's first fighter jet and Farnborough's contribution to the aviation industry got off the ground last week.

That was when councillors agreed to site a replica of the Gloster on a roundabout in the town.

The plan, which has yet to win final approval from Hampshire County Council, brings to an end the wrangling between the group backing the Gloster and their rivals who wanted to place a Lightning jet on the roundabout near Farnborough Gate Retail Park.

Both groups had the backing of Rushmoor Council to place their aircraft on the Farnborough Gate roundabout and were awaiting further approval from the county council.

The rival bids had both wanted to erect a monument that commemorated Farnborough's role as the birthplace of British aviation.

However, the group behind the Gloster bid has now opted to put the jet on a roundabout in Ively Road.

Last week, members of Rushmoor Council's development control committee gave the project the green light.

The project has been two and a half years in the making and is due for completion in the summer.

It was the brainchild of Cllr Charlie Fraser-Fleming and Roy Fowkes, who was a long-time friend of the Gloster's inventor, Sir Frank Whittle.

The replica is based on the prototype, which originally flew in 1942, and has hung in the Science Museum in London for more than 45 years.

All but one councillor supported the siting of the plane on the roundabout.

Cllr Don Cappleman said: "Anything that puts any of our areas on the map as a world-beating area is something I'm in favour of."

Commenting after Wednes-day night's decision, Cllr Fraser-Fleming said: "I feel it's absolutely marvellous.

"I have lived here for all of my life and there's never been a statement that says this is the home of aviation."

He said that now he was really pleased Farnborough had something to mark its heritage in the way Aldershot's monuments celebrate its military history.

Mr Fowkes was a personal friend of Sir Frank Whittle and said he had promised him that he would erect a monument to the Gloster.

He added that comme-morating Farnborough's aviation heritage was extremely important to him.

"I am very pleased that the council has approved this," said Mr Fowkes. "It has taken five years to get to this point."

Mr Fowkes revealed that subject to approval from the county council, he hoped the Gloster would be placed on the roundabout by the summer.