Monday 26 September 2016

Blue-turn over tower's new colours

Published 08/06/2015 | 10:16

Thousands of people signed a petition against one of Britain's tallest landmarks being painted red (Artist's impression/PA)
Thousands of people signed a petition against one of Britain's tallest landmarks being painted red (Artist's impression/PA)

A council is to review plans to paint a major landmark in a rival football team's colours after an outcry from residents.

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Portsmouth City Council announced a £3.5 million sponsorship deal with the Emirates airline on Friday which would have seen the Spinnaker Tower painted red and white - the colours of Hampshire rival Southampton FC.

Following an online petition against the colour scheme that reached 9,370 supporters, Conservative leader of the local authority Donna Jones has announced a review of the plan to better reflect the city's own football team, the Royal Navy and local heritage.

Ms Jones has welcomed the sponsorship as a boost to the authority's coffers in times of cuts and austerity.

She said: "As leader of the city council, I have been extremely worried and concerned about the strong public response to the design of the Spinnaker Tower following the announcement of the Emirates deal.

"I am passionate about this city. I was born here and have lived here all my life. Everything I do as leader of the city council is to further this city and improve the living conditions for the residents. Likewise, I love Portsmouth Football Club, the Royal Navy and our heritage. I fully understand people's feelings about 'blue' being the city's colour and the city emblem.

"That's why I have read, listened, and taken on board all the comments that have been tweeted, emailed, and sent to me on Facebook and other social media. I only want to do what is best, and more importantly so do Emirates as our new partners who are keen to have a strong relationship with the city.

"I am pleased to advise that after working with Emirates over the weekend, and having spoken to Mark Catlin, chief executive of Portsmouth FC, and other key stakeholders, we are working up a new design for the tower. The design will reflect the city's heritage."

Alex Judd, who started the petition, said the branding deal "flies in the face of the values of the city".

He said Portsmouth had a "deep, footballing heritage", adding that to "allow the colours of Southampton to stand tall on one of our city's most prominent landmarks shows an incredible lack of empathy for the residents".

Following the council's announcement of a review, he posted: "Thanks to all of you, the council have listened and are now working on a new design for the Spinnaker Tower branding. In just under a weekend, we've made our voices heard and stopped the shambles of the red and white. Play up Pompey!"

The 560ft (170-metre) viewing tower will see Emirates branding on its side as part of a five-year contract, and is expected to be in place in time for the arrival of America's Cup World Series in July.

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