TENS of thousands of pounds was spent getting Emirates to sponsor the Spinnaker Tower – despite no consent being given over the plans.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal Portsmouth City Council paid an advertising consultancy £81,874.64 to find a sponsor for the landmark.
When it involves something as big as the Spinnaker Tower, which is iconic, we should be consulting with the group leaders, and not just go storming ahead.Former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Lib Dem councillor Lynne Stagg
The money covered a ‘sponsorship sourcing service’, which included the selection of the preferred sponsor, that being the United Arab Emirates airline giant.
It comes after The News revealed the Big Lottery Fund has yet to give the commercial deal permission – needed as £15m of lottery money was used to construct the tower.
Fears have been raised the lottery fund could demand cash as part of the deal - and time is running out to resolve the situation.
Former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Lib Dem councillor Lynne Stagg, said: ‘It’s part of this secrecy thing.
‘I can understand certain things can be financially sensitive when we do something.
‘But when it involves something as big as the Spinnaker Tower we should be consulting with the group leaders, and not just go storming ahead.
‘Why can’t we run this city as a group of people and not be party political? I just think it’s wrong.’
As part of FOI responses to The News, it was also revealed the council has not kept a record of all staff costs associated with bringing in Emirates.
In many cases, tasks involved in this process were considered ‘business as usual’ and were not subject to ‘a cost recording activity’.
But it was noted the city council’s legal team had spent 15 hours on the project, at a cost of £980. Emirates is due to award the city £3.5m in return for the tower’s naming rights, and the Tory administration wants the money to be used to protect schools and the adult social care budget.
Emirates has set aside £100,000 to repaint the tower and will pick up any costs should advertising material and posters need to be changed to reflect the company’s association with Portsmouth.
The hope is the commercial arrangement will be finalised ahead of the America’s Cup World Series from July 23 to 26.