There are clearly defined arguments surrounding the colour of the Spinnaker Tower.
You may prefer the white that has been there since day one. You either liked or hated the ill-fated red makeover planned a month or so back.
You may not be too impressed with the forthcoming blue and gold, you may like it, or you may see it as an acceptable price to pay in exchange for £3.5m from Emirates which could be spent on doing up several schools.
One thing’s for sure though.
Whatever your view, you’d expect the council would have checked it had permission for a paint job and sponsorship deal before it started this increasingly sorry process.
Despite the fanfare of the deal being signed at the tower with pomp and ceremony, it transpires that the Big Lottery Fund not only may have the right to ask for a cut of the sponsorship money, it could also scupper the deal.
Now, we’re not saying that we hope it does, far from it. But when you look at other Lottery-built edifices that have turned to sponsorship – the London Eye and the Millennium Dome among them – none has such prominent branding on the structure itself as is projected for the Spinnaker.
There’s reason to think this is not a done deal, and for an administration that has trumpeted how it is going to bring a ‘business-like’ sensibility to running the city, it is embarrassing indeed.
And we look forward to the next planning meeting down at the Civic. Because the lesson to take from this would appear to be, in the words of the council leader, that the best course of action is ‘to have the deal on the table so we knew whether they liked it’.
In short, crack on with that extension, or put up those floodlights before you ask for planning permission. As long as you say, as the city solicitor does, that you ‘anticipate a positive outcome’, that should be good enough. But of course it isn’t, and this saga is becoming a farce.
Regardless of what colour the thing ends up, will someone at least think twice before pressing ahead blindly with schemes that make us the butt of jokes?