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6,000 petition over tower branding

Published 06/06/2015

An artist's impression of the rebranding of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
An artist's impression of the rebranding of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
Thousands petitioned against Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower being painted red in a sponsorship deal

Thousands of people have signed a petition against one of Britain's tallest landmarks being painted red.

In a lucrative deal, Portsmouth City Council has secured a sponsorship deal for the Spinnaker Tower with airline Emirates.

But more than 6,000 people have signed a petition against the landmark turning red and white - the colours of the city's fiercest football rivals Southampton.

Alex Judd, who started the petition, said the £3.5 million branding deal "flies in the face of the values of the city".

He said Portsmouth has a "deep, footballing heritage", adding that to "allow the colours of Southampton to stand tall on one of our city's most prominent landmarks shows an incredible lack of empathy for the residents".

The 560ft (170-metre) viewing tower in Hampshire will see Emirates branding on its side as part of a five-year contract, and is expected to be in place in time for the arrival of America's Cup World Series in July.

Donna Jones, Conservative leader of Portsmouth City Council, welcomed the move as a boost to the authority's coffers in a time of cuts and austerity.

She said: "I am delighted we have agreed this partnership - Emirates is one of the most prestigious brands in the world and this association can only benefit Portsmouth.

"With the financial situation the council faces, we have to think creatively about how we can achieve the maximum income potential from our assets and this is just one of several deals we are working on.

"The money this sponsorship brings in will help reduce the need for cuts to vital services such as social care and those things communities value so much like libraries, community centres and leisure facilities."

Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, said: "As the most prominent landmark in Portsmouth we are honoured to be the inaugural sponsor of Emirates Spinnaker Tower.

"Part of the reason that this sponsorship opportunity was so appealing to us is that it will enable the local city council to reinvest this partnership money into the local community, something that we are proud to be able to support."

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