Race on to find sponsor for Spinnaker Tower as paint job is up for grabs again

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QUESTIONS have been raised over the Spinnaker Tower’s future paint job as a multi-million pound sponsorship deal with Emirates is due to end.

The 560ft attraction in Gunwharf Quays was white when opened in 2005 but was repainted blue, gold and white when Portsmouth City Council struck a five-year deal with the Dubai-based airline 10 years later.

The Spinnaker Tower white as it was in 2005, CGI of the abandoned red paint job proposed in 2015, and how the 560ft structure looks today in Gunwharf Quays'

The Spinnaker Tower white as it was in 2005, CGI of the abandoned red paint job proposed in 2015, and how the 560ft structure looks today in Gunwharf Quays'

Now a council team is going out marketing the chance to sponsor the tower - throwing into question how it will look in the future.

Deputy leader Councillor Steve Pitt, who said the starting point for discussions will be returning the tower to white, said: ‘Everything is a negotiation, if somebody came to offer £10m but we need to leave it the same way, that’s a discussion about prioritising council services.

READ MORE: New design for Spinnaker Tower after backlash over red and white paint job

‘It all depends on who comes forward.

The Spinnaker Tower white as it was in 2005, CGI of the abandoned red paint job proposed in 2015, and how the 560ft structure looks today in Gunwharf Quays

The Spinnaker Tower white as it was in 2005, CGI of the abandoned red paint job proposed in 2015, and how the 560ft structure looks today in Gunwharf Quays

‘We’re going out to market the opportunity and we’ll see what comes out of that.

‘The starting position for us is: it was designed to be an iconic structure and that design included it being painted white and therefore that should be the starting point.

‘It shouldn’t be the starting point that “okay, you can sponsor it and paint it whatever you like.’

There was fury when the Emirates deal first came to light as the initial plans would have seen the tower painted red - the colours of Pompey rival team Southampton FC.

READ MORE: Pompey fans hail rethink over Emirates Spinnaker Tower red and white design a ‘victory for common sense’

Backlash from across Portsmouth saw the designs change to the current blue, gold and white design.

The team working on clinching a deal hope to finalise a sponsor by spring.

Currently the deal with Emirates brings in £750,000 a year for the council.

That is set to expire in June next year with the race on to replace or keep Emirates.

READ MORE: Portsmouth grandfather stranded in Dubai criticises Spinnaker Tower deal

Speaking at a council meeting on Tuesday Cllr Pitt said: ‘The administration retains the view it had in opposition. It’s the preference for Spinnaker Tower to be painted white and only have the logo of the sponsor on it.’

Cllr Pitt added: ‘The current sponsorship deal with Spinnaker Tower ends in June next year. The council is exploring further options for future sponsorship.

‘The process is currently being formulated, the work has started.

‘There is a team in place to take that forward and as and when there’s anything to report we will report.’

READ MORE: What should red paint bought for the Spinnaker Tower be used for?

Tory group leader Donna Jones asked if the Liberal Democrat administration had plans in place to account for a £750,000 a year budget gap that would appear if a new sponsor is not signed up.

Cllr Pitt said: ‘The sponsorship deal we have at the moment lasts until 2020, there’s no plan to make £750,000 additional savings because there’s a plan to have a sponsor.’