Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Spinnaker Tower branding: Petition against colour-change tops 5,000

The Spinnaker Tower before and after Image copyright David Walton/Emirates
Image caption A large area of the tower will be turned red as part of the £3.5m deal between Emirates and Portsmouth City Council

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition against turning a Portsmouth landmark red and white.

Portsmouth City Council announced on Friday the Spinnaker Tower would be sponsored by airline Emirates.

The £3.5m deal would see the tower painted red and white, the colours of nearby Southampton's football club - Portsmouth's major rivals.

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

He said Portsmouth has a "deep, footballing heritage".

In less than 24 hours the petition has gained 5,000 signatures.

Image copyright Spinnaker Tower
Image caption The 560ft (170m) tower which opened in 2005 will be renamed the Emirates Spinnaker Tower

The tower is to be renamed the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. The branding is expected to be in place in time for the America's Cup World Series sailing event in July and remain in place for five years.

The airline's name will be displayed on the exterior of the tower and large portions will be turned red.

The city council's leader Donna Jones said: "One of the caveats in any deal that we considered is that the name Spinnaker must remain.

"We didn't want the tower to lose its own identity so any branding or painting are things I have the final say on so that we can ensure it will not be detrimental to the iconic tower."

The petition against the changes said: "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. It must be stopped."

Paul Andrews, who describes himself as a Southampton FC supporter on his profile, wrote on Twitter: "All it needs now is the #SaintsFC badge at the top."

The colours of Portsmouth Football Club are blue and white.

The 560ft (170m) tower opened in 2005. It is owned by the council but run by a private company.

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