Reading is not a city

Published: 14 Mar 2012 10:0017 comments

Reading has missed out on city status for the third time. The cabinet office announced this morning it has awarded the civic honour to Chelmsford, Perth in Scotland and St Asaph in Wales.

Reading has missed out on city status for the third time.

The cabinet office announced this morning it has awarded the civic honour to Chelmsford, Perth in Scotland and St Asaph in Wales.

Reading East MP Rob Wilson said: "I want to see Reading deliver as technically a city.

"To do this it needs ultrafast broadband, not just the super fast upgrade we are all getting as part of the Government's current roll out plan (which is excellent for most areas). I'm working on delivering the money to do it.

"So delivery of skills, technology and transport are my three big priorities to ensure that Reading confirms and enhances its place as the economic powerhouse of the Thames Valley. A 'city' to be proud of."

False hopes were raised when BBC Berkshrie Radio began reporting that Reading had won the accolade - ahead of the offical announcement.

The news will be a relief to the bookies who had Reading as odds-on favourite right the way through the submission period.

William Hill had Reading as 10/11 favourite, with St Asaph at 33/1, Chelmsford was 18/1 and Perth at 8/1.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "The standard of application was very high, and those who missed out should not be downhearted.

"I hope the competition has given the residents of all of the places which applied a sense of civic pride, of collective ownership and of community spirit."

"The Queen formally confers the titles of city status and Lord Mayoralty by Letters Patent in due course.

"The awards of city status and Lord Mayoralty or Provostship are purely honorific and confer no additional powers, functions or funding."

The last civic honours competition was held in 2002 to mark the Golden Jubilee when Preston, Stirling, Newport, Lisburn and Newry were awarded city status and Exeter was awarded a Lord Mayoralty.

Reading West MP Alok Sharma said: "Of course I am very disappointed to learn that Reading has not been awarded city status but congratulations to the winning towns.

"I did feel we had an excellent bid being the largest town which is not a city, having very close links to royalty and being an economic powerhouse in the South East.

"Interestingly, in terms of size, the population of Reading is larger than those of all the new cities combined."

He added: "Reading is a city in all but name and I am sure we will continue to go from strength to strength in the future and no doubt there will be further opportunities to present our excellent case for City status."

Reading Borough Council leader Jo Lovelock said: "Working with partners from across the local community, we submitted a very strong bid, highlighting Reading's excellent credentials as a city-in-waiting.

"It is disappointing that the decision has not gone in our favour - particularly when we have just been named European Micro City of the Future and 5th best European city overall by the Financial Times' fDi magazine.

"Whatever the official position, we will continue to behave like a city and to play an increasingly important role in the economic success of the region."

The town was amongst 25 to bid for city status as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year celebrations.

Tim Smith, executive director of economic development company, Reading UK CIC and chair of the City Status Partnership Board added: "While it would have been nice to become the City of Reading, this really doesn't change anything for us.

"We will continue to out-perform and out-class most other towns of our size in the UK. Outsiders usually think of us as city in any case: we'll remain a city in all but name."

Twitter was full of rumour, hype and then disapointment this morning.

Ben Lancaster tweeted: "Boo, #rdg didn't get city status. The Queen has snubbed her own (Royal) county."

Jump to first paragraph.

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  • Not happy
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 10:20
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    What a shame - Reading is a city in all but name and we should be proud.

    Recommend?   Yes 6     No 5

  • Zinzan
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 10:22
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    Such a shame - St where? I thought it would be third time lucky!

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 3

  • Baffled
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 10:30
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    So Reading has Reading Festival, The Oracle, a population of over 200,000 people and a bevvy of celebrity names who live/were born here - not to mention some of the best transport links in the country - and St Asaph has one cathedral and 3,500 inhabitants... Is it just me or is something is slightly amiss here??

    As for Chelmsford, I'm sure the cast of TOWIE will be pleased.

    Recommend?   Yes 6     No 5

  • Rozza42
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 10:30
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    Does anybody else believe that on the next Jubilee, the Queen'll make Slough or Bracknell a city just to really annoy us?

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 4

  • The City of Reading
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 10:40
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    Firstly we are disappointed with the result. We have given 10 reasons why Reading should have been awarded City Status http://www.thecityofreading.com/2011/05/26/10-reasons-why-reading-should-be-a-city/

    With the competition on this occasion being focused on the town's association with Royalty, The Royal County of Berkshire still does not have a recognised City.

    On our website, www.thecityofreading.com, we shall continue to promote Reading and echo the thoughts of Tim Smith, this changes nothing for the town, and we shall continue to out perform most towns and cities in the UK.

    The people of Reading should use the result to get behind Reading as a place and we will continue to operate as a "City" in all but name.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 3

  • mischievous
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 11:05
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    Well no surprises there; absolutely the right decision. Reading is a town of 150,000 people and the aspirations of property developers to capitalise on spin. From the day that Wilson and Sharma started their debate on the bid in Parliament it was exposed as over-egged. The Queen thankfully knows where Eton Dorney is and it is not in Reading. Well done Chelmsford. Still our councillors can pretend that they have created a thriving metropolis when they have the statistics to show the reverse.

    Hopefully there will no further opportunity for city status in the near future.

    Recommend?   Yes 17     No 8

  • The City of Reading
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 11:20
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    The people of Reading can be proud of our bid, and focus should now be put on how well Reading is doing as an economy, the huge infrastructure projects happening right now and hopefully the Royal's will be flying the flag in the Premier League next year!

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 1

  • Notacity
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 12:35
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    This comes as no surprise to me. And I'm glad because maybe it will bring something to our town councils attention(though after the years of giving every bit of land they can to property developers to build useless empty office blocks I doubt it)

    I spent the last 3 years studying in Coventry. A City. And it really had earned that status, why because of other factors besides the ones that these councilors seem obsessed with like population and economic strength. Coventry offered me as a young person other activities. If I didn't want to go out drinking I could go and use the ice rink, watch the local rugby football or speedway teams, there was an art museum that always had new and exciting exhibitions on, and the transport museum that celebrated the city's industrial heritage, there was even a theatre that put on incredible shows. Combined with the usual student oriented places such as the clubs and pubs this had me wishing to return every holiday I had to come home. Because there was, and is nothing to do in Reading. Oh unless you enjoy shopping and drinking till you throw up. Maybe instead of super fast broadband, and bringing more corporations to Reading our council should look at ways to attract companies like planet ice or John Nike to build us a rink, transform some of the disused town center buildings in to something useful for family entertainment like a bowling alley or laser quest arena, a cinema to rival Vue cinemas monopoly(yes we have a bowling alley in Reading but its not located in a place anyone can find unless they know its there), explore ways to bring more culture in to the town through museums, yes we have the Reading museum but it is pathetic when compared to other museums I see. I'll no doubt get responses telling me if I love Coventry I should move there, I would have if I had the cash. And no doubt I'll be reminded that the economy is struggling and the council don't have bottomless pockets. I know this but the essential points Im trying to make are that it takes more than just population, cathedrals and good local economy to make a city.

    Recommend?   Yes 15     No 2

  • Uneducated
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 13:03
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    Reading can't be a city, it's made of paper.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 2

  • The City of Reading
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 13:41
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    There have been some interesting points today by people who are disappointed for the town after todays news, and others who feel that have identified shortcomings in Reading and it's City Status bid.

    If you agree or even if you disagree with Reading's aspirations to become a City, please support the town by getting involved with The City of Reading Project and voicing your options and ideas.

    Thank you to those who have supported the City of Reading (www.thecityofreading.com) over our first 2 years.

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 3

  • unlucky
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 16:18
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    hahaha Heart Radio this morning was speaking to a woman on a train who was sitting in the quiet carriage, the Radio station wrongly announced to her whilst on the air that Reading had won city status and she shouted it out loud, 10 mins later on the headlines was that Reading missed out. How did she feel? The presenters were all so excited, fools.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • Synergy
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 18:33
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    The right decision, i used to live there for 10 years, no soul to speak of and culture is hard to find. If you want to spend money though, it's a good place.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 1

  • ReadingCitizen
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 19:14
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    "Notacity" is right. There's little culture and art in Reading, for shame. The Reading Festival, a once a year piss-up that ups-sticks and leaves no legacy does not count either by the way.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 3

  • Editor
    Unregistered User
    Mar 14, 19:31
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    How on earth can you say that! Just look at The Chronicle each week to see how many events showcase the thousands of talented artists of all kinds we have - from painters and sculptors to actors, writers, musicians and comics. What about the Reading Contemporary Art Fair, Whitley Arts Festival, the Studio Trail, Reading Arts Week (invitations for entries now open) the Poets' cafe at South Street Arts centre, the Rotary Club's annual art show, Jelly arts collective - internationally famous print artist Barbara Newcomb lives in Whitley for heaven's sake! - I could go on and on but I don't need to. Just look at The Chronicle every week.

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 4

  • HAMHAMsterMan
    Unregistered User
    Mar 15, 08:12
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    Might have taken that more seriously if it wasn't the editor opening and closing their comment with "LOOK AT THE CHRONICLE EACH WEEK!"

    BUY MORE COPIES OF THE PAPER EACH WEEK

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • CommonSense Party
    Unregistered User
    Mar 18, 09:18
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    For years RBC have been creating the traffic scenario of a city with their congestion creating policies. Perhaps this might give them the opportunity to look at what most real cities have to help with their transportation systems . An outer ring road is what is required by Reading to allow traffic, which would rather not come through the town, to avoid it. RBC should be looking at the real world and real solutions rather than flirting with property developers in their desire to build Manhatton on Thames in our town centre which would do little other than serve as a dormitory 'city' centre for London employed workers. Put the people of Reading first I say, and limit the height of any future buildings in Reading to perhaps 10 levels.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • Esteban
    Unregistered User
    Mar 18, 21:34
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    @Notacity - I also studied in Coventry and I can promise you just as much to do in Reading, if you just get off your lazy backside and look for it. Coventry is good at promoting these things, but not any better at delivering them!

    @Synergy - Glad you've gone, please don't come back. It's people like you that destroy a twon's soul. Reading is a vibrant, diverse town, surrounded by areas of natural beauty. I dare say you sat in doors whining the entire time you were here, instead of going out and exploring. You may have learnt a thing or two.

    Reading may not be the best town in Britain, but to call it dull and soulless just proves that you are not prepared to give it a chance. I suggest you get your facts right in future.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 0

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