Reading Platinum Jubilee city status bid receives 'tremendous support'

People living in Reading have been thanked for their "tremendous support" for the town's bid to become a city, as the official application was submitted today. (Tuesday 7 December)

The borough council said the town's economy, rich history and diversity all made the bid for city status stronger. It's hoped, if successful the status would help provide more training opportunites for those communities in need.

Towns across the UK have been given the chance to apply to become a city, as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations next year.

Reading Gaol, complete with Banksy artwork, is one the many historic sites in the town. Credit: PA

Cllr Jason Brock, the leader of Reading Borough Council, said the bid has received "tremendous support" and city status would play a key role in driving the council's plans for "levelling up".

"As successful a town as Reading already is, we also know there are people in some of our communities that do not benefit from that success.

A successful bid would help open up new opportunities for those residents, particularly in terms of new skills and training opportunities."

11 reasons why Reading should be a city, according to the borough council

Regional Leadership

The council says that as the county town of Royal Berkshire and an economic hub, city status for Reading would benefit a large area around the town.

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Rich History

The council says that the town has a rich history, stretching back to the 5th century AD, including Reading Abbey and the industrial revolution.

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Future Vision

The council says city status would allow the town to make the most of their 2050 vision for the area.

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Royal Connections

The last resting place of King Henry I, and the birthplace of a possible future Queen, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. For a time in the 13th century the entire kingdom was effectively ruled from Reading by ‘the greatest knight’, William Marshall, 1st Earl of Pembroke, who served as regent to the boy King Henry III from his home in Caversham.

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The town is a centre for the IT industry and enjoys excellent rail links to London and also the world via Heathrow airport.

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International Outlook

The town has the oldest twinning between an English and German city, with a link with Dusseldorf established in 1947. The town also boasts the largest Barbadian community outside of Barbados and the Council says it was among one of the first to offer to house Afghan refugees.

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The council says that 67 languages are spoken in the town, with students at the University from 150 nations.

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'Levelling Up'

Previous research has pointed to the gap between rich and poor in the town. The council says city status would boost their plan for 'levelling up'.

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Climate leadership

The town's university recently won the Queen's Anniversary Prize for work in the climate sphere. Researchers also played a key role at COP26, and the town has also been added to an international 'A' list of bold climate action.

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Cultural Pedigree

Reading boasts huge creative history and array of talent - from Jane Austen to Marianne Faithful, Kenneth Branagh, Kate Winslet and Ricky Gervais who were born, educated or settled in Reading. The town also has high quality theatres and is of course home to one Banksy's most recent works - his scene of Oscar Wilde on the Gaol that housed him.

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Festivals and Events

Reading Festival is world renowned, the council says - and is just one of many of the town's annual celebratory events: they include Reading Pride, Reading Fringe, Reading Climate Festival and Reading Thames Festival.

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The town has previously unsuccessfully applied for city status in 2000, 2002 and in 2012.

Councils have been given 11 subsections they have to provide evidence of; they include a distinct identity, civic pride and evidence of links to royalty.

Southend was the first applicant to be given city status, awarded the title in tribute to one of the city's MPs who was stabbed to death in October.