Tory council boss defends Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower deal

The original colour change planned for the Spinnaker Tower
The original colour change planned for the Spinnaker Tower
  • Portsmouth City Council leader said no mistakes were made during Spinnaker Tower deal
  • She said the deal was helping to protect the city from £750,000 of cuts this year
  • It comes after initial plans to paint the landmark red sparked city-wide outrage
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PORTSMOUTH City Council’s leader has defended the authority’s handling of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower deal.

The comments were made by Tory council boss Donna Jones, in response to claims the city’s residents had been ‘disillusioned’ by the process.

It comes after a lucrative deal was struck between the council and airline giant Emirates, who secured the naming rights to the landmark earlier this year.

During the cabinet meeting Lib Dem councillor Ben Dowling demanded a public apology was made.

He claimed city residents were ‘disillusioned’ about the whole procurement process.

He said: ‘I think mistakes were made and I think we can’t put blame on any individual.

‘But I do feel that the residents of Portsmouth are now in a position where they deserve somewhere between an explanation and apology.’

However, Cllr Jones denied this, saying the council had followed the law in every aspect of the deal.

Speaking to the committee, she said: ‘When we are looking at the “perceived mistakes” – there were no mistakes.

‘The legal and due process was followed and there was no procurement issue.

‘We have given correct and due diligence to everything we have done.

‘Yes, there was a reaction to the colour red (of the tower) and we know that.

‘But there wasn’t a reaction to the legal process.

‘If there was we would 
have a legal challenge against us.’

Cllr Jones told the committee that the £5m deal was helping to bolster the city’s coffers.

She explained the move would protect the budgets of other essential services from cuts.

‘Without this deal, we would be looking at an additional £750,000 worth of cuts this year that are now not needed,’ she added.

The original plan was to paint the tower red – but that sparked uproar as residents and Pompey fans felt it resembled the colours of Southampton Football Club.

The Dubai airline giant then agreed to a change, settling on a blue and gold design.

Repainting work started last month and is ongoing.