By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH COUNCIL have unveiled controversial proposals to update their official branding in a move costing £3465 despite concerns from local residents and opposition representatives, which is expected to replace the civic crest going forward as councillors prepare to vote on this change later tonight (March 15).
A proposed branding design was shared online last week and features a simplistic depiction of a sailing boat; councillors keen to give the authority a modern and distinct identity. If approved within Wednesday evening’s meeting the logo will be introduced incrementally to online platforms, council vehicles, signage and uniforms.
The costings of £3465 include the graphic design involved in creating this new branding alongside corporate identity guidelines and officially trade-marking the logo. It can furthermore be easily transferred into a variety of digital templates such as invoices, letterheads and posters; meaning that the costs are kept at a minimum.
This design can be seen in the above image and has been inspired by the town’s historical civic crest, which was created in 1922 by Martin Snape to mark Gosport’s creation as an official borough. As evidenced in this council document it will see a basic colour scheme and offers multiple variations depending on intended use.
It is argued that any change in branding would remove all confusion around “responsibility and accountability for services and facilities” across the town; particularly as the traditional borough crest is used by companies and organisations with no connection to the council. Examples include the town’s football team and partners.
The council are furthermore keen to stress the new logo design would be used for its own services and there is “no plans whatsoever” to replace the town’s official crest. This will continue to be incorporated for civic and commemorative purposes by the council, alongside being used by the Mayor throughout his official activities.
But campaigners have objected to this proposal as they argue the new design removes the “proud history” of Gosport and have launched an online petition that has been signed by 445 residents (this information correct on Wednesday morning). It started on March 8 and looks likely to remain live for any signatures until April 19.
Their argument centres on a removal of the strapline “God’s Port, Our Haven” from proposed designs, which is said to refer to medieval times when Bishop of Winchester Henry de Bois found sanctuary in Gosport from a storm in the Solent. It has also become a ‘motto’ for the town representing heritage and community identity.
The strapline is also symbolic for Christians across the town due to the link between God and Gosport, whilst others see it as a message of hope during uncertain times. This view has been shared by residents and local representatives including elected Conservative Party Councillor for Grange and Alver Valley Maggie Morgan.
Questions have further been raised about the costs of designing this branding, with the Conservative council leader Graham Burgess calling it a “waste of money”. Fellow councillors have further argued the £3465 costs could have been spent on projects such as town centre investment and protecting the Tourist Centre’s future.
Readers can examine full details of the proposals by looking at the council agenda for Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Policy and Organisation Board here, with the decision likely to be announced online promptly.
PICTURED BY GOSPORT BOROUGH COUNCIL: Depiction of proposed new branding for council services.