Andrew Rosindell is Member of Parliament for Romford.
Today I have tabled a parliamentary motion that calls for protection iconic buildings having their names changed due to temporary sponsorship deals. This comes after hearing that the City of London Corporation will decide tomorrow on whether Heron Tower, the City’s tallest building, can be renamed “SalesForce” tower in a sponsorship deal.
I worry that this will open the floodgates to many of London’s (and in the rest of the UK) iconic being renamed in commercial deals.
Some will have picked up on the uproar in Newcastle a few years ago caused by the proposal to rename historic St. James’ Park – the home of Newcastle United – the Sports Direct Arena. There was outrage from fans, the wider community and local MPs.
The problem here was not the fact it was a sports stadium – think of new football grounds such as the Emirates and the Eithad Stadium – but the fact the stadium had so much history and prestige. If we allow this to happen to the iconic Heron Tower, who is to day what is next? Other prestigious buildings like the Shard and the Cheese Grater got their name due to their architectural nature and structure – not commercial deals that some think are temporarily suitable.
In this particular case, I understand there that there has been no consultation with the other tenants in the building and other local businesses. No one would expect to have their company address changed so dramatically without some degree of consultation.
I believe there is a real problem with traditional names disappearing in both London and across the country. We have already seen hundreds of pubs lose their historic names. Now we are faced with the possibility of iconic buildings going the same way. If we are going to start renaming things, let’s ensure they are in keeping with our history.
I would like to see buildings in the City of London called Trafalgar Tower, Churchill Tower and Queen Elizabeth II Tower. This will mean that the buildings serve as permanent reminders to great historical events and people.
Having the whole London skyline named because of a series of temporary sponsorship deals just invites ridicule, and looks bad in front of tourists and visitors.
SalesForce is a growing company and is welcome in London. We want you – but not at any price!