Portsmouth Spinnaker Tower set for white paint job as deal with Emirates and Portsmouth City Council ends

THE Spinnaker Tower will be painted white again after a deal with Emirates that saw it turn blue and gold has come to an end.

Monday, 23rd November 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 23rd November 2020, 4:29 pm

Portsmouth City Council revealed today that the 560ft tall tower will be repainted early next year after the five-year sponsorship deal ended with the United Arab Emirates in June this year.

Negotiations with Emirates were ongoing in the summer as the council was ‘hoping they might decide to continue the deal’ as there had been no ‘definitive no’ at that stage.

The deal brought in £4.2m and boosted Portsmouth’s profile – but is unlikely to be replaced by a new deal with another firm, the council said.

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View of Spinnaker Tower from Gosport. Picture: Habibur Rahman

But for now the Emirates colours and branding will remain on the tower until early summer 2021 and painters will tackle the 2001-built tower in Gunwharf Quays ‘as soon as the weather allows,’ a statement said.

It will take eight weeks and the chance to do it this summer was missed while negotiations continued.

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Conservative opposition group leader Donna Jones said she urged council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson to get out an find a sponsorship deal.

Undated file handout artist's impression issued by Emirates of the rebranding of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, as thousands of people have signed a petition against one of Britain's tallest landmarks being painted red. Picture: Emirates

She said: ‘I am hugely disappointed to hear this news, particularly for the adult social care budget which is where all of the £750,000 was allocated back in 2015. Will this lead to a reduction in care packages for elderly and disabled residents?

‘I am very concerned about such a significant loss if income.’

In a statement Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘The naming rights sponsorship of the Spinnaker Tower has brought huge benefits to Portsmouth and its residents, and we would like to thank Emirates for the contribution they have made to our great city.

‘Moving forwards, I am delighted to be able to announce we will be returning the iconic Spinnaker Tower to its original white, which we know our residents will prefer.

‘The work to transform the structure back to its gleaming former glory will take place as soon as the weather is fine enough for the specialist abseiling crew to start painting.’

The end of the deal, on June 30, will leave the council scrambling to find £750,000 a year in income.

Last year deputy council leader Steve Pitt answered concerns about a budget gap by saying that ‘there’s no plan to make £750,000 additional savings because there’s a plan to have a sponsor’.

Fury erupted in 2015 when the Emirates deal included a proposed red Spinnaker Tower, with CGI drawn up and ready to go.

The intense outrage at decorating the city’s landmark structure in its rival Southampton’s colours sent the council and Emirates scurrying back to the drawing board before finalising the blue and gold paint job.

The tower will be repainted as part of a routine maintenance schedule, so will not cost extra to the taxpayer, a council statement added.

It added: ‘Recognising the very significant challenges created by the on-going coronavirus pandemic for the global economy, the council does not anticipate securing a new naming rights sponsor for the Spinnaker Tower for the foreseeable future and so will be returning the structure to its original white as soon as the weather allows.’

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