PUBLIC outcry over plans to paint the Spinnaker Tower red and white have prompted city bosses to go back to the drawing board.
Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones is now working up a new proposal as she has been ‘worried and concerned’ by the public’s negative response.
Major airline Emirates secured the naming rights of the city landmark on Friday, in a deal that will see the local authority net £3.5m, with a further £1.5m going on advertisement of the city.
But in return Emirates was to coat the tower red, one of its main corporate colours, in time for when the America’s Cup Series comes to Portsmouth next month.
Following a huge backlash from residents and Pompey fans who felt the design was too similar to the colours of Southampton Football Club, Cllr Jones has instigated a rethink of the design and the red and white is to go.
She now wants a plan worked up that takes in local people’s suggestions and reflects ‘the city’s heritage’.
Cllr Jones said in a statement last night: ‘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 stakeholders, we are working up a new design for the tower.
‘The design will reflect the city’s heritage.’
Speaking to The News, Cllr Jones added: ‘The strength of feeling has been so strong.
‘When there is such an overwhelming outpouring of response, you need to listen.
‘I come from Portsmouth, I am one of the residents.
‘I don’t want a tower in the city no-one likes the look of.
‘I liked the fact there was quite a lot of white in the original design and I hope it will keep that going forward.’
An email address is to be set up today for people to submit their views.
Bob Beech, chairman of the Pompey Pals Project charity, said it was a ‘victory for common sense’.
‘I congratulate Donna, to be honest,’ he said.
‘There have been plenty of politicians locally in recent years who would have just ignored it and done what they wanted anyway. At least she has had the bottle to go, “we have gone this one wrong, lets look at it before it escalates.” It’s a victory for common sense.’
Pompey director Mark Trapani said: ‘Isn’t that wonderful? I’m really pleased.
‘I’m delighted. A number of people had written to Emirates, I sent a tweet to Emirates suggesting it reconsiders the colour and use gold instead of red.’
Pompey fan Alex Judd, 25, who set up a petition against the red and white design and attracted nearly 10,000 signatures, said it was great the campaign paid off.
‘This is fantastic news for the city,’ he said.
‘Thanks to everyone who showed their support, in just under a weekend, we’ve made our voices heard and stopped the shambles of a red and white Spinnaker.
‘Now Portsmouth FC will be involved in the decision making for the new design, this will surely help protect our city’s pride and heritage.’
The revised design for the branding of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower will be made public in the next few days.
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